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How Long Does it Take to Evict a Bad Tenant in Canada?


It’s no secret that having a bad tenant can be a nightmare for landlords. Not only do they often cause damage to the property, but they can also be difficult to evict. Depending on the province, it takes four to six months to evict a bad tenant and costs between $1,000 and $11,000. Continue reading to understand the eviction process in Canada, and how to best avoid it.

The process of evicting a bad tenant

Although each province has a different eviction process in Canada, they are all similar. In general, it can be broken down into three steps:

Step 1: Make sure you have the right to evict your tenant

Each province has a list of acceptable reasons for evicting a tenant. Common reasons generally include: missing rent, damaging the property, endangering other tenants, or if the landlord wants to move a family member into the unit. Make sure to become familiar with the different reasons in your province.

Step 2: Give notice that you intend to evict your tenant

Depending on the reason, the landlord will have to issue a specific notice to the tenant, determining how long the eviction will take. Each notice has a different waiting period before the landlord can formally escalate the issue to their provincial landlord board.

Step 3: Re-take possession of your rental property

After your waiting period has passed, you can then apply to your provincial landlord board. The board will set a hearing date where the landlord and tenant have the opportunity to communicate their perspective. The board will then make a decision based on the provided information. If the board provides an eviction order, the tenant must leave. If the tenant refuses to go, the landlord can then apply for a Sheriff to remove the tenant and their belongings. It’s essential to understand the landlord can’t remove the tenant their self and requires law enforcement to do so.

How Long Does it Take to Evict a Bad Tenant in Canada?

Evicting a tenant in Ontario

Ontario has the longest and costliest eviction process in Canada. There must be a reasonable cause to evict a tenant in Ontario. The Landlord-Tenant Board (LTB) oversees the eviction process in Ontario. Some reasonable causes include, but are not limited to:

  • Frequently missing rent payments
  • A landlord’s immediate family member needs to move in
  • Damaging the property
  • Causing harm to other tenants
  • Conducting an illegal business within the unit

If the tenant acts in a way that is reasonable for eviction, the landlord can then issue a lease termination notice. However, if the tenant complies with the notice and stops acting in an appropriate way for removal, the notice can be voided. If the tenant continues to misbehave, the landlord can apply with the LTB after a predesignated period. There are many different termination notices in Ontario, which can become confusing. To help landlords better understand which notices to use, the LTB has created a Tribunals Ontario Tool.

Each reason for eviction has a different period the landlord must wait before filing with the LTB. In general, this period lasts for 10-60 days after issuing the initial termination notice. Following the LTB application, there are steps, including a hearing date, receiving an order, and possibly needing to forcefully remove the tenant with a sheriff. Overall, the Ontario eviction process takes 78 days after filing the LTB application.

Evicting a tenant in British Columbia

According to a recent housing survey by the University of British Columbia, BC has the highest eviction rates in Canada. Roughly 10.6% of lease agreements end with eviction in BC. This is likely due to the province’s lower costs and simplicity of evictions. Unlike Ontario, which has dozens of forms for landlords to navigate, BC only has four reasons to evict a tenant:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Notice for cause
  • Notice for personal use
  • Notice for construction

After issuing a notice, the landlord can apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) to formally evict the tenant. However, after giving the notice, the landlord must wait a certain amount of days before applying to the RTB. The amount of time changes depending on the purpose of eviction. For example, if the tenant does not pay rent, the landlord can apply to the RTB 10 days after issuing the notice, while a notice for construction takes four months. After applying to the RTA, there will be a hearing, an order, and a sheriff’s removal if necessary. In general, BC evictions take 50 days after applying to the RTB and typically cost $1,000.

troublesome tenants

Tips for finding good tenants

The best way to avoid the eviction process is to prevent it in the first place. The best way to do this is to screen tenants thoroughly before renting out your property. Some qualities to look for in a tenant include:

  • Good communication skills
  • No issues with previous landlords
  • Income exceeds 3-4x rental payments
  • Job stability

Once you have chosen a tenant, writing up a lease agreement that clearly outlines your expectations is critical. If the tenant violates any part of the lease agreement, it can be challenging to evict them before their term is up.

The consequences of evicting a tenant

Although the eviction process is stressful, try to keep calm and avoid making things worse. Even if you evict a problematic tenant, they can still take advantage of you. They may withhold their rent or damage your property. If this happens, resist the temptation to retaliate. Cutting off gas or electricity to your tenant’s unit can result in a lawsuit.

Alternatives to evicting a tenant

Buying your tenant out of the lease is another popular method to avoid the eviction process. Although rewarding a nightmare tenant with your hard-earned cash seems counter-intuitive, the rewards outweigh the cons. For example, in provinces such as Ontario, the eviction process can cost over $11,000 when you factor in missed rent and legal fees. Suddenly, paying 1-2 months’ rent to your tenant in exchange for leaving at the end of the month doesn’t seem terrible.

When using this method, it’s wise to begin low – only offer a few hundred dollars to see if your tenant accepts the offer. Make sure to explain this will make things easier for you both and potentially even offer to help them find a new home.

The bottom line

Given how long evicting a tenant can take, it’s best to use it as a last resort. Try to reason with your tenant to end the bad behaviour. A secondary option is to buy your tenant out of their lease. If both fail, evicting your tenant should be your final option.

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