Question – Giving Tenants the Boot?

July 26th, 2010 · 35 Comments · Buying or Selling Your Property, Landlord & Tenant Board, Property Management, Rental Property

Rob asks two questions about kicking out existing tenants.

The first is on behalf of a friend, their landlord is selling their place and wants to evict them as an empty house is easier to sell. My understanding is they can’t do that.

Rob you are 100% correct ( if you’re from Ontario). The landlord must give the proper forms and there isn’t even a form for kicking people out. Once the house is sold if the purchaser wants to move in then their landlord can serve them with notice.

Furthermore if they move because the house is sold and the house has been rented to new tenants instead of the purchaser moving in they can sue. There are some nasty fines for fraudulent notices of this kind.

They should also forward this article to the landlord because I’m about to tell him something too.

There is only one person that benefits from selling an empty house. That’s the real estate agent. Here’s why.

  1. They have the owner over a barrel, the owner gets no income while the house is empty and gets to pay the mortgage, taxes, utilities. It’s easy to convince someone who’s losing money every month to sell for less after a few months. So it’s easier to sell because the owner is economically vulnerable
  2. They don’t have to make appointments 24 hours in advance and they are lazy.
  3. Income properties are worth money because they generate income. Without income an income property is worthless. It even makes it harder to get financing.

Experienced investors won’t put up with that kind of crap. The first job I had was managing 50 properties for a couple who was divorcing. Income properties are sold full. This landlord needs to lose his idiot real estate agent. Not only is she going to cost them a whack of commission, she’ll also cost him a bunch of income from rent. The next owner is just as likely to rent it out. Of the 50 properties sold about 47 kept the tenants.

If the place is full the owner is less vulnerable. The real estate market is not hot right now. Does the owner want to lose 6 months of rents because his real estate agent is lazy? I think not!

If your friends have a lease the landlord can’t kick them out until the end of their term even if the property sells. Typically landlords will pay people to terminate their lease. A settlement is reached usually around one month’s rent for every month left in the lease.

Landlords who want tenants to move into a place then decide to sell the place a few months later are reneging on the contract. You can’t want a nice solid lease for rent payments then cancel it with 60 days notice when it suits you. So you’ll have to pay to be a jerk. If you’re a smart landlord you’ll rent month to month if you’re planning on selling. Lots of people have been burnt by this, so good luck renting.

Good quality tenants don’t want to move on 60 days notice whenever it suits their landlord. They also don’t want a bunch of strangers traipsing through their house looking in their bathroom or closets. It’s a question I hear often. Is the landlord planning to sell?

Here’s another fact, you’ll never rent a place with a for sale sign on the lawn.

His sister in law also found out it is hard for the landlord to evict people because the landlord has family who wants to move in.

She’s kind of right and kind of wrong. If it’s legitimate it’s not that hard. You need to show proof and answer questions.

The problem is that this is probably the most abused application on the planet. Every new landlord believes the myth that they can just say they or family are going to move into the unit and be rid of late paying or underpaying tenants and they’re done.

Then the tenant resists and they have to answer questions about the legitimacy of the application. The adjudicator is likely to ask things like “Mr. Landlord, you have a wife and three kids, why do you want to live in a one bedroom apartment?” Then the adjudicator will say it’s not a legitimate application (which it isn’t) and then the landlord goes around telling people how crummy the law is.

Landlords also get fined for abusing this law and the tenant can sue them. This is not a legitimate way to get around rent control legislation for long standing tenancies. I heard of one lady who was fined $5000. This was her tenant’s moving expenses and a fine.

In any case a complete list of reasons you can evict a tenant for can be found here, please be advised that YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOUR CASE! You can’t just say a tenant is noisy, you need witnesses, letters and proof. Some cases are harder than they should be. It’s well known among the paralegal community that it is very rare to succeed in a first eviction for continual late payment of rent. You have to go twice with a solid record of N-4’s and or hearings to get the tenant out. If your tenant pays on the 2nd and it irritates you; forget it!

If in doubt contact a paralegal experienced with landlord & tenant law.

Here’s another secret, paralegals are much more skilled at Landlord & Tenant Board Law then lawyers. That’s because they go there all the time. They know which adjudicators are decent and uphold the law and which are flaky. I’ve seen about 4 lawyers at the Landlord & Tenant Board and I’ve been there a lot. Paralegals are cheaper than lawyers. It’s good news all the way around.

The biggest misconception a landlord can make is that they can do what they want because it’s their house or investment property. They can’t; they have to follow the laws on housing in their area.

Happy Evicting!

I love questions ! Thanks Rob!

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35 Comments so far ↓

  • Dana

    Great Post, Rachelle. It’s a serious pet peeve of mine how often ‘vacant posession’ is written into offers and the new owner just turns around and installs a new tenant (usually for more money). It’s unethical and perpetuates the negative connotations often associated with landlords.

    That being said, we happen to be an example of investors who do not purchase tenanted properties. As you point out, there are some legitimate risks to purchasing a vacant rental, but we prefer those risks to the risks of taking on someone else’s established tenants.

    Sometimes it is easier for a landlord to sell a property than to get rid of a problem tenant, and I don’t want to inherit someone else’s problem. Also, if the tenant knows their home is on the market they may be on their best behaviour for showings and when you meet them in hopes of not having to move out if buy their home. You really don’ t know what you’re getting into.

    When you purchase a rental property and inherit the tenant that goes with that property, you also inherit the lease that tenant has signed with their existing landlord and all the terms and conditions therein. This includes any “verbal agreements” the tenant may have had with their previous landlord, and if it comes down to a dispute it is your word against the tenant’s – which does not necessarily bode well for a landlord in Ontario.

    We have had RE agents tell us over and over that we can easily get “vacant posession” of the property, and that “everybody does it so it’s not a big deal”, but we won’t put someone out of their home for our convenience so we look at vacant properties, partially vacant (in the case of multiple units) and owner occupied properties. It really narrows your search.

    • Rachelle

      RE Agents are wrong and people can and have been sued for evicting people fraudulently using this application. This is a perfect example of why this application is far from straightforward if it is contested. It makes it much harder for people who are legitimate.

      I do think that you may be missing out on some great tenants. It is true that some landlords sell their properties because they have a bad tenant, I would say this is more a problem of bad management than a reason to sell. My experience with the 50 houses was that tenants did not clean up their act when they property was for sale. Bad tenants became worse (they wouldn’t let us show the property and didn’t clean up) The good tenants stayed pretty much the same. If we had a questionable tenant it was pretty obvious. You might be limiting your search for no good reason. We told our good tenants that there was a good chance the new owner would assume them and most were. So this might be some food for thought.

      • need advice

        Hi I was wondering if a landlord is selling home I live in a basement suite of a home and she trying to sell as is asking to much for it if u ask me and was told to never go up stairs cause well no one allowed up there but all suddin a guy shows up up there not paying rent and I can’t get along with him she kicks me out I have two Lil kids it says on my lease by her hand writing I stay till house is sold and if new owners kick me out then I have 30 days to move OK well house isn’t sold and she gave me two weeks to move cause I can’t get along with non rent payer not supose to be there is she allowed o do that FYI the guy is a pedifile and and wanted fudgitive in states and I’m at aloss

        • Rachelle

          I have no way of knowing what the law is in your area, but if a pedo was living upstairs and I had two little kids, I’d be out of there before you could say boo!

  • Mr. Cheap

    Great post with some very useful info!

  • Landlord Forms

    Firstly, the land lord can kick there tenants out if there period of the rent is finished and if in the form there is saying that “land lord will inform the tenants 3 months before he sells the house.. Land lords can send any one out with out proper notice, we can file a case against him

  • gail

    Great Post! Our property manager, also a realtor, is making all the mistakes you advise against. If I were a little more kindly disposed to him I would send your post to educate him. Maybe after we meet at the LTB I will.

  • Tony

    Hi Rachelle;
    Your website has been helpful for me, as I am still working on my first rental property, and (a familiar story) have had tenants abuse me through the system.

    I have a tenant who has stayed almost a year past his original lease, which is great, but the tenant is very hard to deal with sometimes (for me and the other tenants) and I have almost been forced to evict him a few times. He now wants to sign a new lease. I would rather keep him on month to month, as it gives me more strength when I get those late night abusive calls hreatening to turn off the heating system, air conditioning, etc.

    What are the tenants and landlords rights/responsibilities regarding requesting a new lease?

  • shannon

    I have been renting a place since 12/2011. The landlords are bringing in Illegal Mexicans (our landlord is Mexican and his wife is american) and they want to put them in the rv we are renting from them. In turn they are telling us that we have 30 days to leave.We have not been served with a eviction notice. Can they kick us out in 30 days. Our rent is paid on time every month. There has been no complaints and never had the police called on us for anything at all. Can they kick us out to so that illegals can move in

    • Rachelle

      Hi Shannon,

      I have no idea what you landlord is allowed to do where you live. You sound American. You have to ask around your local housing court to see if he can or not. Also the status of the new tenants is irrelevant to your situation frankly I doubt you’ve met them or seen their paperwork so I have a hard time imagining how you know so much about them.

      I also have to mention that in all the years I’ve been in this business, the worst offenders among tenants are rarely immigrants legal or illegal. Unfortunately our Landlord & Tenant Board is clogged up with born & bred Canadian shysters for the most part.

  • Stella

    Hi My friend rents part of my house which I have to sell due to no money. I got an offer and the people want her out for their daughter they say. I need a clause to protect her in this offer. Also a ton of conditions so how do you give a 60 day notice to her unless all conditions are met. Please help

    • Rachelle

      You could wait until the conditions are cleared before you give her notice if you have the time. If not you’ll just have to give her 60 day notice and hope for the best.

  • Rich

    My friend rents a room in a house in Toronto. Her landlord has sold the house and has told her and the other tenants they need to be out bu Oct 31. He informed them of this at 10:30 pm Sept. 6th. Shouldn’t they get a complete 60 days to move or can the landlord make it the 31st of October? Also they are on month to month with no current lease.

  • cruiser22


    I have tenants who live in my basement and are now on a month to month. My dad recently had a stroke and i want my parents to move in upstairs and I would move in the basement. I would obviously give my tenants their 60 day notice. My parents have finally agreed to move in with me on a trial basis as they are having a tough time letting go of their independence. If my parents come and live with me and don’t like it, can i re-rent out my basement and if so how long do i have to wait before i can? Also, do I have to offer it to my current tenants first?

    • Rachelle

      Yes you can rerent the apartment if it doesn’t work out. I’m not sure what a reasonable time would be… a few months I’m guessing.

  • Marsha

    I have lived in this apartment over a store for 20 months with no complaints about me and always said hello to my neighbours without any problem with any of the tenants.
    A new tenant moved in building in November and he has been complaining that the noise of the front door to our apartment has been waking him up at night. And more specifically that I am letting the door slam.
    The door had not been causing any complaint or needed an adjustment in the 20 months prior to this that I have lived here and only after this person moved in. The building manager had the door adjusted so that it does not bang and so it is closing more quietly now.
    The situation I am dealing with now is that the landlord has asked me to leave the building because she is now saying that several people in the building have now been complaining that I have been making excessive noise and she says they are threatening to move from their apartments because of it and she has documented it. I have canvassed the tenants when she brought the complaint to my attention. 6 of the units have said that I have not made any noise that has disturbed them. The other 4 are mentally or physically handicapped and long term tenants and a couple work for her and I believe that she is fudging and misusing them as complainants. All the other tenants are free of any influence from her and are not disabled people.
    I was dumbfounded because I have not changed any of my behaviour, I don’t have guests over, I don’t turn up my music. The noise they are complaining about is what I have been doing in all the time I have lived here before the new tenant moved in and that is…. I come home and enter through the front door of the building and walk up the 23 stairs to my apartment between 1 am and 2 am each morning.
    The new tenant has his apartment directly over the front door entry, as do I.
    When the new tenant first complained he came up to me in the hall aggressively and gesturing with his hands in quite a disturbed manner and intensely and aggressively asking me not to let the door bang. I was in shock by his surprise appearance in the hall and his disturbed manner and I was confused because I have been coming in this door for 20 months without a problem. I said to this tenant that the door must be broke. He said he has notified the landlord and it would be looked into. I went into my apartment and in the next days did also notice a thump when people used the front door. The thumping was not louder than the traffic and Brinks trucks that stop outside our window every night as we are on the main street. This tenant did keep stalking me each time I came through the door in the evening and he would open his door and say to me it is 2:00 in the morning.
    At this point I was trying to cushion the door somewhat but the reason I am using the front door at that time of night is because I have several bags and my arms are not free when I come through the door. I need to put my bags in my apartment from the front entrance as I cannot carry them from my car when it is parked a distance in the back parking lot. When I come in the back door there are several levels and over 50 stairs to climb. When I got to the top of the stairs and turned the corner the tenant was standing in the hallway and intensely imploring me to not bang the front door. I was concerned about his intensity and his stalking and his behaviour. I live over the same door and I here the same thud and it does not compel me to go out into the hall and verbally aggressively accost the tenants. As the landlord has said in response to my concern about the tenant in the apartment beside me waking me up in the night when he goes to the bathroom or draws a bath or the noise on the street or someone leaving the building every morning at 5 am. I did not complain because I understand those conditions come with the older building. So in consideration of and leading up to this tenant again being in the hall at my door and disturbed I asked him if maybe his doctor could give him something to help him sleep and he hisses at me moving close to my face… you are unstable as I quickly get in my apartment and close my door.

    The next day I hear pacing in the hall and I look out my peep hole and see a flash of a dark figure going back and forth. I open my door to see what it is and it is the tenant pacing back and forth.

    I said is there something wrong as I open my door a small way and stay in my apartment. (I was getting a nervous wreck every time I met this this guy in the hall alone.)

    And he is looking at a letter that is posted on the wall for information for the tenants regarding rules of the apartment, (the letter is always there to remind tenants), and he turns around standing a few feet from me with his wild eyes and says … you know what I am doing, and as I start to step back into my apartment he says you know what I am doing don’t you.. I am looking for the managers email to report the noise. I shut my door.

    I received an email from the manager later that night saying that there has been several reports about me banging the door. I said the door is broke and the manager says yes I know and it will be looked at. The manager said everyone else holds the door so it does not make noise you are the causing him a loss of enjoyment of his apartment.
    I advised the manager that I too hear 3 other tenants not holding the door in the late and early hours and I ask why I am being targeted.

    I also remind the manager that my apartment is also over the same door as the tenants and I hear the same thump when the door closes and I recognize and acknowledge the noise to myself and go back to sleep. I then advised the manager that this noise does not compel me to go out in the hall and verbally assault each tenant that comes through the door. And I advised the manager that if his behavior does not stop I will have to get a restraining order. The manager said that the landlord is aware of all the complaints against me and she wants me to leave.

    The manager says she is also aware my apartment is full of clutter and a hazard. I explain that yes there is a lot of stuff in my bachelor apt and that it is not clutter I am using my belongings. I cook meals daily I don’t buy frozen food like the other tenants, I have my cooking recipies, my canning and preserves. I am knitting, quilting, writing (I was in a year long memoir writing course and I have papers and bags of research documents) and books for reading.
    The other people in the building don’t have hobbies and watch their tv every night. I gave my tv away when I was in university in 1980s and took an interest in life.
    I do suspect that the manager came into my apartment without permission when I was away for 7 days. She said that there were complaints about my cat making noise and that I had left the cat alone for 7 days and I am obliged to tell her any time that I leave my unit for more than 4 days and that the hydro was off for two days and my apartment was at risk. I advised her that I had hired someone to come in daily to care for my cat and that she had your name and tel no to call you if there was a problem and that she was here in my apartment the two days you said the hydro was off and my electricity was working and my clocks are all in working order and have not been off. I have left my cat often alone over night at least once a week and she never cries she is secure so these are all lies. She is saying that the lease says no cats allowed. This manager told me that when I moved in after I signed the lease and I said at that time then I cannot move in I am not giving up my cat. The manager said okay but don’t let anyone see her. There are 4 other cats in the building I said and she said yes but we would prefer not to have them. And now she is using that as a reason to evict me as well saying I have breached my lease.
    I am thinking this woman is having a stress reaction due to her sisters illness as she indicated the day she asked me for post dated cheques again and I asked for a print out which she has refused to give me. I paid for my bank to send me my bank statements and indeed there are two extra payments, double payments that she has cashed because some of the cheques were dated the same and she had told me she tore one up. My record show she has cashed two extra cheques. I have now told her as well that it is illegal for her to demand post dated cheques and that I will now be giving her one cheque a month. ( I have never missed a payment or been late). She is not responding to my request to answer advise me if she will be taking legal action if I do not leave. She has said that I will be held to pay for her legal bills if I do cause them to get legal action.

    The owner was in the building this week and I have not seen her since the summer. We have not had long conversations in the 20 months I have lived here but she vacuums our halls and so on occasion I have had opportunity to exhchange a pleasant hello with her. Seeing the owner in the hall I took the opportunity to ask her about the letter from the building manager that I was given that says the owner is requesting I leave. She said should could not talk to me about it and I need to talk to the building manager. I said but you are the owner who is requesting me to leave. She said she could not talk about the issue with me. I asked her to witness the closing of my door and I opened the door and allowed it to close by itself and it closed with a thud of its own volition.
    I said that I have lived here for 20 months with no complaints from tenants about me and now I am being asked to leave because the front door made noise (which is fixed) and now the issues has shifted to my apt door and it is being said that I am slamming my door. She looked at me and said you could hold your door you don’t have to let it slam.
    The landlord says the tenants are complaining of loss of enjoyment of the apartments and are threatening to move out. I said maybe the doors need to be repaired or replaced. The owner made gave no response.
    So I asked her if I am going to have to go to arbitration on this. She shrugged and walked away.
    I have started emailing the I am being discriminated against for some reason as I am not being given the same consideration.
    The additional people who are complaining along with this new tenant are two men in the building who have befriended this new tenant who has started the complaints about me making noise with the doors.
    Also I play the violin (which they are not complaining about) and so this past summer when I was playing the violin and aware that these two men were in the hall outside my apartment chatting (before the new complaining tenant moved in) I took the opportunity to go to these men and ask them if my violin playing was loud or if my music ever bothered them. Each one of these men said no I was not making any noise that was disturbing them. When I reminded one of the tenant that is now complaining about me he says he does not remember that conversation happening. (also this particular does work for the building manager around the building in lieu of a portion of his rent) He is on disability and has some health issues so he may legitimately have a memory problem and if that is so I am sorry about that but his not being able to remember the event of our conversation is causing me more difficulty with this situation. He is at the moment sitting out front the building in his car playing loud oldie love songs which he does for his own entertainment often.
    The only other thing that comes to mind for me that could be motivation the building manager to want me out is that in October the building manager came to me and asked for more post dated rent cheques (I have never missed or been late with my rent but she does want to have to come to the building for the rent cheques and so she prefers to have a years supply of post dated cheques, which I did not want to give because I am on a month to month tenancy. She is now saying that because I have not renewed my lease for the entire year they are taking this opportunity to ask me to leave.
    I did discover that she has cashed cheques for rent twice in October and Twice in March. I asked her to give me a print out of all the cheques she has cashed for my rent to date and she said she cannot do that because she does the books by hand, it is a simple system and is not computerized. So I also am going to have difficulty with that issue as well.
    I felt compassion for the building manager when I asked for the print out last October (before the new tenant and complaints started) and backed off because she blurted out… I don’t have time for this, my sister is sick with cancer and I am trying to care for her.
    have excellent references from any place I have previously rented at and never had a problem this is bizarre.
    The building owner has been a member of this business community for 30 years and even though this whole situation sounds bizarre that fact may be powerful enough to not give me fair consideration. She is trying to sell the building or has sold it. She has had groups of people come through and look at it and the real estate agent told her my apartment is too cluttered.
    I have been off work for the past year with a medical stress leave as there was a Human Rights suit against my employers by an employee and 3 other employees in a row left before another employee brought a claim and the environment was deteriorating and toxic and so my doctor gave me medical support to leave. I have been healing from the stress and somewhat vulnerable and I do feel vulnerable and bullied by the events that have taken place at my apartment. I need support. I am hoping that I will be eligible for legal aid as I have been unemployed for over a year.
    I appreciate your response. Thanks

  • AW

    I am wanting to sell my house and have 3 tenants living in the basement i gave them enough notice to move out but they are refusing, i am planning on moving soon and want my house to sell what should I do?

  • renee

    Hi this is for a friend , now she just bought a house and the previous owner had a tentant who was and still is living there she hasn’t payed her rent faithfully, and this new person who just bought the house wants her gone and she has given her written notice but the tenant said she’s not going , how does this landlord go about it plus she is going to rent it to her niece who has know where to go

  • dwayne

    my landlord kicked me out so he could move in but he lied he is selling the house can he do that

  • Nad

    Hi there, My tenant is just disappeared and not responding at all nor she is living in my rented home but her boy friend who is not on lease still living in that home again, he doesnt open door on me and living there without paying rent. Is there anyway to kick him out? I have applied Landlord Tenant board for non payment of rent.
    Any help please

  • stan

    Hi, If the tenant names 3 adults will live in the property in the rental application and me as the landlord says utilities included but tenant moves in with 8 people including a child. Now its 2 weeks and i am worried about the utilities. What are my right. Me the landlord and my partner lives in the basement and getting disturb with children noise as my wife does night shift and honestly we just wanted adults only. Please advise. Thanks

    • Rachelle

      First of all it’s illegal to discriminate against kids. Second of all unless the city says there is overcrowding according to their rules, you are stuck with them. There is simply no reason to evict them. But you have definitely learned to never include utilities.

      • stan

        Thank you for the quick reply. Regarding the discrimination. I would definitely keep children as tenants but before renting the property i knew my parents who are above 65 are coming to live with me for a few months. That is is why i just wanted adults and when the applicant named 2 adults and herself signed the rental application all looked good. And based on the 3 people i included utilities.
        Please advise.thanks

        • marie

          hi can you evict tenants that threaten you or your children when you go on the property to collect your rent or when cutting your rental grass The tenant called me the c word and threatened to knock out my son 3x who is 15. thanks

          • Rachelle

            That sounds like a safety issue. First you would need proof of their behavior (like a recording) then take it to the paralegal and see what they say.

  • Sookie

    Hi Rachelle – thanks for the article. What happens if we buy a house with rental units, and the tenants don’t have actual leases? Do we have to honour what is in place with the current landlord? Can we increase the rent by more than the stated %? And can we do even that 2% increase (or whatever it is this year) as soon as we take over? Any insight you have would be appreciated! Thanks.

    • Rachelle

      You can give rent increases every year and there is no upper limit if the house is built after 1991. The only thing is you need to know when the last rent increase was given and when the house was built