Eviction Orders: How are they enforced?
While a landlord alone cannot force a tenant to move out, the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) can issue an Eviction Order requiring that the tenant vacate the rental unit.
However, it is not the LTB that enforces the order. An enforcement officer, known as the “Sheriff”, is the only party that can enforce the order. Once the landlord obtains an Eviction Order from the LTB, a copy must be taken to the Sheriff’s office, and a document known as a Writ of Possession requested. The Writ of Possession gives the Sheriff the legal power to enforce an eviction.
What are the steps of enforcement?
The Sheriff will send written notice to the tenant indicating the Sheriff’s intention to enforce the Writ of Possession. This notice is often taped to the door of the rental unit, and will specify the date and time for the eviction.
If the tenant does not vacate the premises by that date and time, the Sheriff will escort the tenant out of the unit. The landlord will also be permitted to change the locks to the unit. Generally, one week is allowed for vacating the premises, but less time may be given if the reason for the eviction involves illegal acts or business taking place on the premises.
What about my belongings?
If a tenant moves out of the premises following a Notice of Termination, Agreement to Terminate, or once employment has terminated in the case of superintendents, the landlord can sell, retain, or dispose of any belongings left on the premises.
However, if a tenant moves out following an Eviction Order, the landlord must make the tenant’s belongings available for 72 hours after the eviction. The belongings must be kept in or at a location close to the rental unit, and accessible from 8AM to 8PM daily. If the property is not made available, the tenant can apply to the LTB for compensation for their lost property.
In some cases, a tenant who has left the unit and did not return may be deemed to have abandoned the unit. The landlord can obtain an order from the LTB declaring the unit as abandoned. The landlord may then sell, retain, or dispose of any property left in the unit 30 days after the notice was issued. Alternatively, the landlord may provide notice to the tenant that they will be disposing of any property in the unit. The landlord can sell, retain, or dispose of any property still in the unit 30 days from the date the notice was provided. In either case, if belongings are collected during this 30-day period, the tenant must pay for storage fees incurred by the landlord before the property was released.
If you have received an Eviction Order, it is important to deal with the Order immediately, as the Sheriff’s office may proceed to enforce the Order against you.
For more information on tenant rights and rental housing laws, and to find application forms to enforce your rights, please visit the Landlord and Tenant Board website at http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca or call them at 1-888-332-3234.
This column is brought to you by Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc., and Community Legal Services and Pro Bono Students Canada at Western University. It provides legal information only. The information is accurate as of the date of publication. Laws change frequently so we caution readers from relying on this information if some time has passed since publication. If you need specific legal advice please contact a lawyer, your community legal clinic, Justice Net at 1-866-919-3219 or the Law Society Referral Service at 1-800-268-8326.