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  • Petar Guzina

A Second Order Granting Enforcement of Eviction in Ontario

Another order of the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario has been published on CanLII granting a motion by a landlord to enforce and eviction order of the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). This is the first one based on an eviction order issued by the LTB during the normal suspension of court operations. I have written about the first motion granted by the courts in this blog here.

The facts of the case are set out at paragraphs 8 through 10

[8] The LTB found that the landlord had satisfied both the normal test for eviction and the higher test being applied during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically, that there are urgent circumstances which require the eviction of the tenant.

[9] The LTB found that there had been willful damage to the leased premises and that the tenancy presented a threat to safety. The LTB based its decision on evidence that a large window at the front of the unit had been willfully broken and on the high frequency and number of visitors to the premises, which had not abated following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The LTB heard that visitors to the unit arrived throughout the day and night, that many stayed for only a few minutes and others for extended periods of time, including overnight. There was evidence that the police were watching the property because of suspected drug-related activity. A tenant who cuts the lawn at the property testified that he found both needles and small white baggies, which he said were of the type used for drugs, containing white residue. The same tenant said visitors to the tenant’s unit sometimes gather on the driveway and that the noise from the unit disturbs him and the neighbours at all hours.

[10] In an affidavit, the landlord said that because of the tenant’s conduct, he is concerned about the safety and well-being of his other tenants, the building’s neighbours and himself.

It is unfortunate that the LTB order is not yet published as it would be interesting to read about this "higher test being applied during the COVID-19 pandemic" by the LTB. There has been no change in the legislation, the only change at the LTB level is that they have suspended the issuance of all eviction orders and eviction hearings. Perhaps the higher test referred to is the preliminary inquiry of whether an urgent hearing should be granted. I have written about the this process here.

The Court in this decision accepts the prior principles set out in the first link above and goes on to put the ground of termination and the societal objectives of the state of emergency into context in paragraph 13:

[13] I certainly accept, to quote Favreau J., that these are not ordinary times and that everyone has an interest in having a home that allows them to stay healthy and assist in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Despite the extraordinary times, however, there is no moratorium that favours willful damage to property. In deciding whether the eviction order should be enforced, as Broad J. noted, the court must consider the societal objectives of the eviction moratorium as they relate to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. That a tenancy is being exploited for purposes which may actually promote the spread of the virus will weigh heavily in favour of enforcement of the eviction order.

This motion was uncontested and that certainly played in the Landlord's favour in having the motion granted.

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