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I got a Form L1 and Notice of Hearing – what should I do?

Your landlord can try to evict you if they say you have not paid all your rent. First they must give you a Notice to End your Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent (Form N4) with details about what you owe and when you must pay.

If you receive a Notice of Hearing from the Landlord and Tenant Board, this means your landlord has taken the next step by filing a Form L1 - Application to Evict a Tenant for Non-payment of Rent and to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes. The Board should send you a copy of your landlord's Form L1 together with the Notice of Hearing.

There are still ways for you to stop the eviction by paying, making an agreement with your landlord, or winning your case at the Board.

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Next Steps: 

1. Pay the rent you owe plus the landlord's expenses

If you receive a Notice of Hearing and a Form L1, this means your landlord has applied to the Board to have you evicted for owing rent.

You can try to cancel the hearing by paying the amount you owe before the hearing date.

The Form L1 should show the amount your landlord says you owe. This amount will include any rent payments that you missed since the first Notice. It will also include the $170 application fee the landlord had to pay to the Board. You also have to pay any rent that became due after your landlord signed the L1.

You can pay the money to your landlord or into the Board's Trust Account. You should bring in the receipt to the Board as soon as you make the payment.

If you pay the full amount to the Board, the hearing should be cancelled.

But you should go to the hearing to make sure the Board member knows that you have paid if:

  • you paid all or part of the amount directly to your landlord, or
  • you are not sure the hearing has been cancelled.

If you pay any amount to your landlord, make sure you get a receipt.

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2. Talk to your landlord

If you agree that you owe rent, you could ask your landlord if they will agree to a payment plan. You could make a private agreement or settlement or you can ask a Board mediator to help.

It's important to get any payment plan in writing to prove that you made an agreement with your landlord and avoid misunderstandings.

Be realistic about what you can afford. If you miss a payment, the Board can make an eviction order against you without any notice and without a hearing.

Or maybe you don't really owe rent. You might be able to convince your landlord that they have made a mistake. It will help if you have receipts to prove all your payments.

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3. Get help paying the rent

If you are having temporary difficulty paying the rent, you might be able to get an interest-free loan from a rent bank. To find out more information about rent banks, go to the Housing Help Association of Ontario website and find your local Housing Help Centre

If more than half your household income is from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Ontario Works (OW), or if your rent is subsidized, you cannot use the rent bank program. Ask your ODSP or OW worker what help is available.

If your problem is not just temporary and you can't afford your place, you could think about getting a roommate to share the rent. In most cases, your landlord cannot stop you from doing this, as long as it won't break any local overcrowding by-laws.

Having roommates can create confusion about your rights and responsibilities. CLEO's online tool "Sharing rental housing?" can help you find out which laws apply to your situation.

If you live in subsidized or rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing, you probably have to report the income of everyone in your household, including roommates. This could change your rent or your subsidy. It could even affect whether you still qualify to live there. Find out what the rules are before you decide to get a roommate. Check your rental agreement or ask at the office that makes decisions about rent subsidies.

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4. Decide if you should move out or try to stay

It can be hard to accept that you cannot afford to continue living in your place. For example, you might try to pay what you owe but you can still get evicted if you can't pay the full amount or if you pay too late. Then you might not have enough money left to rent a new place.

When you think about your situation, you might decide that it is better to try to find a more affordable place.

If you decide to move out, it's important to know that your landlord can still sue you for the amount that you owed when you left. And the debt can affect your credit record.

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5. Prepare for the hearing

If you can't pay or make an agreement with your landlord, or if you don't agree on the amount you owe, you will have to prepare to go to the hearing. At the hearing, a Board member will listen to both sides and will decide how much you must pay and whether you have to move out.

If you don't come to the hearing, the Board will probably make an eviction order against you.

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December, 2015

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