There is nothing more frustrating then going through the eviction application process with the Landlord and Tenant Board only to find the case dismissed due to a minor technicality. Making matters worse, if a case is dismissed the landlord must start the process over, as if it had never begun in the first place. Waste of time, waste of money and much aggravation.
A common mistake among landlords is the miscalculation of notice periods. While there many types of lease violation and subsequent landlord-tenant cases, the most common case is the non-payment of rent by the tenant. By way of example to illustrate how to calculate notice periods, below are step-by-step directions for a non-payment of rent case.
The tenant is late in paying the rent, so the landlord then serves a “Notice of Termination for Non-Payment of Rent” (in Ontario also known as Form N4) on the tenant. This particular eviction notice mandates a notice period of 14 days, after which is the termination date. Calculating the termination date correctly is essential, and not as intuitive as it may sound.
On Form N4, there is a place in the center of the first page where the termination date is entered. All eviction notices for tenancy termination contain this date. (NOTE: In Ontario there are Forms N4, N5, N6, N7, N8 and N12, for other tenant violation scenarios. Each of these forms have specific requirements for how many days are to be entered. Much depends on whether it is a first or second notification.)
Hand Delivery: The rule of thumb for calculating the termination date is to count to the 15th day from that the day you deliver the notice to the tenant. In our example in Ontario, if you give your tenant the Form N4 notice on October 11th, add 14 days to arrive at the 15th day being October 25th. You are permitted to give more days’ notice, but no fewer.
Mailing Notices: If you mail the notice, an extra 5 days must be added, for a total notice period of 19 days. Using the example above, the notice is mailed on October 11th, making the termination date October 30th or later.
Courier Service: Alternatively, if a courier is used to deliver the notice, you must add 2 days, for a total notice period of 16 days. This is the case regardless of whether the courier serves it to the tenant on the same day you provide it to the courier. Thus, in our example above, if the eviction notice is sent by courier on October 11th, the termination date is October 27th.
Notice periods must be precisely correct. While the specific example above uses Ontario non-payment of rent notice periods, every province in Canada enforces varying notice periods that must be calculated similarly and strictly observed. Miscalculating even one day can cost not only the repayment of a filing fee but loss of rent as well. When in doubt, err on the side of caution by including additional days.
Or better yet, ask an attorney or someone at the Board to assist you with filing notices if you are at all unfamiliar with the eviction process.