Updated: Jan 21
Today’s post is a response to a question I received via email about disposing of property. It’s a tricky question because the landlord is not covered under the Landlord & Tenant Act.
I have been reading your articles for awhile and find it really informative. My situation is that I rent out rooms in the house that I own and live in. I share the kitchen and the bathroom with the tenants, meaning that neither of us are covered under the Landlord & Tenant act. I evicted 2 tenants for non payment of rent, one is past due for $1463.53 and rent is $500 a month and the other is behind $1505.20 with the same rent per month. They are now refusing to remove their property from the house and have broken 2 appointments to remove their stuff and are threatening to sue me if I dispose of their stuff leaving me unable to rent out the rooms. My question is would they be able to sue under duty of care or since they owe money and were evicted due to nonpayment would it be viewed as they have abandoned the property? Any help with this situation would be useful even if it was just direction on reading material. I live in Ottawa Ontario.
Well first of all, I’m sorry you had to go through these evictions. It’s a stressful time and it’s not over yet.
People Are Always Allowed To Sue You
No matter what you do the tenants may sue. This is because anyone has the right to sue even without legal cause. What you need to know is not if they will sue but rather if they can sue and WIN. In a tenancy governed by the Landlord & Tenant Act tenants can apply to the Board and the Ministry of Housing and Housing Enforcement Unit. In your case they could sue via Small Claims. It’s a lot easier for your tenants to threaten to sue then to actually do it.
You Need Proof
In a situation like yours, where you are not covered by the Act, if you have made 2 appointments for them to come and get their stuff and they haven’t come and you have proof such as phone messages or a letter you wrote them or an email, you can go ahead and give them final notice that you will throw out their stuff and they can come and pick it up at the curb. Then put all their stuff out at the curb.
Landlord & Tenant Board Rules
If you wanted to be super safe you might want to follow the rules as set out by the Landlord & Tenant Act anyways. The Act gives tenants 72 hours after an eviction to come and get their stuff. From your description it sounds like you have already given them more than that amount of time.
If the apartment were abandoned then you would have to wait 30 days before throwing out their belongings. If you sell their stuff they can come back and ask for the money for 6 months. This is kind of funny considering the stuff tenants leave behind. You’d be lucky to get $5 for it.
The Landlord & Tenant Board has a brochure called Property Left Behind When A Tenant Moves Out if you want to read some more on the subject. You can use this as a guideline to keep yourself safe from your tenants being able to sue you and win.
I hope this helps.