It doesn’t occur often, but the dreaded eviction appeal does happen. It creates extra work, usually additional losses and always more stress for the landlord in Ontario (or anywhere, for that matter). Often, tenants use the appeal process as a ploy for delaying eviction. This is even more aggravating for the landlord.
The scenario typically unfolds like this in Ontario:
- The landlord files an application to evict with the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board.
- The case is generally heard within one month of being filed.
- When a decision is made for the tenancy to terminate, the tenant will then have to move by the date set by the court.
- The tenant has 30 days to file an appeal to the Divisional Court.
- The tenant files the appeal and the original decision to “terminate and force the tenant to move” is “stayed” or put on hold until the appeal hearing.
There are critical differences from an appeal court hearing and the filing of an application for termination. A lawyer is generally not required to file an application to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board to force a tenant to move whereas one is generally needed for navigating the appeal process. Beware of trying to go through the appeal process without the assistance of counsel; it often causes even more wasted time and money.
In many locales within Ontario, the appeal process can take a year and a half just to be heard; in some places longer. The tenant does have a requirement of many steps for the appeal in order to have it set down for a hearing. Supposedly this must be filed within 30 days of the initial filing of an appeal BUT there are no penalties in place if a tenant does not do so, and the tenant of course the tenant has a financial incentive to delay the process, not hurry it.
A landlord must push a tenant who is now an appellant to meet the deadlines and the procedures of the Rules of Civil Procedure. When a tenant fails to meet deadlines, a landlord may file a motion to Divisional Court for dismissal. This will remove the stay if successful, and the tenant will then be evicted.
An appeal cannot be ignored and one false step can cause long delays in the process. The appeal procedure is long and complicated, and the typical landlord truly needs the assistance of an attorney to ensure that all requirements are met.
A final word to the wise: Ontario is not alone in its lengthy and difficult appeal process. All Canadian landlords are encouraged to contact an attorney the moment their tenants file an appeal to stay the eviction process.