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What if I don't go to my eviction hearing?

If you don't go to the hearing, you will not have the chance to tell your side. Even if the Board only hears from your landlord, they can still make a decision about your case. The Board will then send printed copies of their decision to you and your landlord. The Board's decision is called an order.

If you don’t go to the hearing, the Board will probably make an order to evict you.

An eviction order will usually have wording like "The tenancy between the Landlord and the Tenants is terminated, as of [date]. The Tenants must move out of the rental unit on or before [date]."

If you've decided to move, try to do so before the day that the Board has ordered you to move out. This is sometimes called the "termination date" and is usually on the last page of the order. After the termination date, your landlord can get a court official called the Sheriff to physically evict you.

If you do not want to move, you must do something about the eviction order right away.

Some things you might be able to do are:

  • Pay the money you owe, if the eviction is because you owe rent
  • Ask the Board to review or reconsider the decision
  • Ask a court to change the decision
  • Ask your landlord to agree to let you stay
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Click to expand each step for details
Next Steps: 

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

If you decide to move out, try to move by the date stated in the Board's order, or as soon as possible after that. If the Sheriff enforces the eviction order, your locks can be changed very quickly.

If the Sheriff locks you out, you only have 72 hours after the lockout to make arrangements to get your stuff. Even if the eviction happens just before the weekend, you still have only 72 hours. So, it's best to make sure to move your stuff out before this happens.

2. Get legal help

It's always best to get legal advice about eviction problems if you can, especially when you have an eviction order against you.

If you have a low income, you can call your local community legal clinic and try to make an appointment to discuss your situation. Be sure to tell the clinic that you have an eviction order against you.

If you can't get help from a community legal clinic, you can contact the Law Society Lawyer Referral Service for a free half hour consultation with a lawyer or licensed paralegal. Or you can contact JusticeNet, a non-profit organization that can connect you with a lawyer or licensed paralegal who has agreed to work for reduced fees.

If you live in a city where there is a Board regional office, and you can't find legal help, you may be able to speak to Tenant Duty Counsel. But they are usually busy helping tenants who have eviction hearings that day and they might not have time to talk to you.

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3. Pay the money you owe

If you are being evicted because you owe rent, you might also be able to stop it by paying everything you owe plus your landlord's legal expenses. The order should explain how much you must pay and the deadline to pay it.

But you must act very quickly and you must follow exactly the right steps.

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4. Ask the Board to review the order

You can try to stop the eviction by asking the Board to "review" the decision.

To ask for a review, you must file a written Request for Review with the Board. This costs $50, but if you have a low income, you can ask the Board to "waive" or cancel the fee by filling in a form.

Time limit

You must file the Request to Review within 30 days after the date of the eviction order.

If it is more than 30 days after the date of the order, you will have to also file a Request to Extend or Shorten Time form. You will have to give the Board a very good reason why you missed the 30-day deadline.

Filling out the Request to Review form

On the form, you need to give a good reason why you missed the hearing. For example, if you didn't know about the hearing because you didn't get the paperwork, be prepared to explain to the Board any past problems you've had getting mail. If you were out of town, in hospital, or had a family emergency, get proof of where you were. For example, get travel receipts, and attach it to your Request for Review.

And, if you have reasons why you think the eviction order is wrong, you can put these on the form too.

There is also a place on the form to ask the Board to "stay", or freeze, the eviction order so that your landlord cannot enforce it. Make sure to fill in this part of the form.

After you file your Request to Review

A Board member will look at your Request for Review and decide whether to schedule a hearing. There is no guarantee that you will get a review hearing.

If the Board decides to schedule a hearing, you will get a Notice of Hearing and a copy of the "stay" order. You must take the copy of the stay order to the Sheriff’s office so they will know not to evict you before the hearing. You will also have to prepare for the hearing.

But if the Board decides not to hold a hearing, this means the Sheriff can come to evict you.

The Tenant Duty Counsel Program has a Tip Sheet that will guide you through the whole process of asking for a review.

Appealing to court

You can also appeal Board decisions to the Divisional Court. But this process is complicated and can cost a lot of money. In most cases, the court will not hear your appeal unless you have already asked for a review by the Board.

It is best to get legal advice before you decide to appeal to court. Once you receive the order, you have a short amount of time to file an appeal so you must act quickly.

5. Ask your landlord to agree to let you stay

You can talk to your landlord and see if you can make an agreement that will let you stay in your place. If you can, try to get legal advice before you to talk to your landlord about this.

If your landlord does agree to let you stay with certain conditions, make sure to get this agreement in writing.

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December, 2015

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