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Question – Giving Tenants the Boot?

Rob asks two questions about kicking out existing tenants.

The first is on behalf of a friend, their landlord is selling their place and wants to evict them as an empty house is easier to sell. My understanding is they can’t do that.

Rob you are 100% correct (if you’re from Ontario). The landlord must give the proper forms and there isn’t even a form for kicking people out. Once the house is sold if the purchaser wants to move in then their landlord can serve them with notice.

Furthermore if they move because the house is sold and the house has been rented to new tenants instead of the purchaser moving in they can sue. There are some nasty fines for fraudulent notices of this kind.

They should also forward this article to the landlord because I’m about to tell him something too.

There is only one person that benefits from selling an empty house. That’s the real estate agent. Here’s why.

  1. They have the owner over a barrel, the owner gets no income while the house is empty and gets to pay the mortgage, taxes, utilities. It’s easy to convince someone who’s losing money every month to sell for less after a few months. So it’s easier to sell because the owner is economically vulnerable

  2. They don’t have to make appointments 24 hours in advance and they are lazy.

  3. Income properties are worth money because they generate income. Without income an income property is worthless. It even makes it harder to get financing.

Experienced investors won’t put up with that kind of crap. The first job I had was managing 50 properties for a couple who was divorcing. Income properties are sold full. This landlord needs to lose his idiot real estate agent. Not only is she going to cost them a whack of commission, she’ll also cost him a bunch of income from rent. The next owner is just as likely to rent it out. Of the 50 properties sold about 47 kept the tenants.

If the place is full the owner is less vulnerable. The real estate market is not hot right now. Does the owner want to lose 6 months of rents because his real estate agent is lazy? I think not!

If your friends have a lease the landlord can’t kick them out until the end of their term even if the property sells. Typically landlords will pay people to terminate their lease. A settlement is reached usually around one month’s rent for every month left in the lease.

Landlords who want tenants to move into a place then decide to sell the place a few months later are reneging on the contract. You can’t want a nice solid lease for rent payments then cancel it with 60 days notice when it suits you. So you’ll have to pay to be a jerk. If you’re a smart landlord you’ll rent month to month if you’re planning on selling. Lots of people have been burnt by this, so good luck renting.

Good quality tenants don’t want to move on 60 days notice whenever it suits their landlord. They also don’t want a bunch of strangers traipsing through their house looking in their bathroom or closets. It’s a question I hear often. Is the landlord planning to sell?

Here’s another fact, you’ll never rent a place with a for sale sign on the lawn.

His sister-in-law also found out it is hard for the landlord to evict people because the landlord has family who wants to move in.

She’s kind of right and kind of wrong. If it’s legitimate it’s not that hard. You need to show proof and answer questions.

The problem is that this is probably the most abused application on the planet. Every new landlord believes the myth that they can just say they or family are going to move into the unit and be rid of late paying or underpaying tenants and they’re done.

Then the tenant resists and they have to answer questions about the legitimacy of the application. The adjudicator is likely to ask things like “Mr. Landlord, you have a wife and three kids, why do you want to live in a one bedroom apartment?” Then the adjudicator will say it’s not a legitimate application (which it isn’t) and then the landlord goes around telling people how crummy the law is.

Landlords also get fined for abusing this law and the tenant can sue them. This is not a legitimate way to get around rent control legislation for long standing tenancies. I heard of one lady who was fined $5000. This was her tenant’s moving expenses and a fine.

In any case a complete list of reasons you can evict a tenant for can be found here, please be advised that YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOUR CASE! You can’t just say a tenant is noisy, you need witnesses, letters and proof. Some cases are harder than they should be. It’s well known among the paralegal community that it is very rare to succeed in a first eviction for continual late payment of rent. You have to go twice with a solid record of N-4’s and or hearings to get the tenant out. If your tenant pays on the 2nd and it irritates you; forget it!

If in doubt contact a paralegal experienced with landlord & tenant law.

Here’s another secret, paralegals are much more skilled at Landlord & Tenant Board Law then lawyers. That’s because they go there all the time. They know which adjudicators are decent and uphold the law and which are flaky. I’ve seen about 4 lawyers at the Landlord & Tenant Board and I’ve been there a lot. Paralegals are cheaper than lawyers. It’s good news all the way around.

The biggest misconception a landlord can make is that they can do what they want because it’s their house or investment property. They can’t; they have to follow the laws on housing in their area.

Happy Evicting!

I love questions! Thanks Rob!

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