Surge of evictions likely in Waterloo Region expected as province lifts moratorium, paralegal says
KITCHENER -- A paralegal in Waterloo Region said the area could see a surge in evictions now that the province has lifted its moratorium on residential evictions.
The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) suspended eviction orders and hearings at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with exceptions for urgent matters involving safety issues and illegal acts. Last week, the province said eviction notices could be issued again on Aug. 1. The LTB can also begin issuing pending eviction orders and hear urgent and non-urgent eviction matters.
"Basically any tenant who had an order issued against him or her by the Landlord and Tenant Board and that order hasn't been enforced yet is at risk of eviction right now," said Veronica Jimenez Munoz, a paralegal with Waterloo Region Community Legal Services. "We are talking about orders that have been issued prior to the moratorium and during the moratorium as well, as long as they haven't been enforced yet."
Jimenez Munoz said her office handled an average of 20 evictions per month prior to COVID-19. The office covers all of Waterloo Region. She doesn't have a number yet for how many they might see as the moratorium lifts.
She said there are options for people facing eviction.
"Sometimes landlords are willing to negotiate some sort of arrangement even if the order has already been issued," Jimenez Munoz said. "On the other hand, we can file reviews for the landlord and tenant board if there are reasons for it."
Jimenez Munoz said there is also an opportunity for tenants to work out payment arrangements if they can't pay rent due to unemployment.
A landlord usually gives a tenant 11 days to terminate following an eviction notice.
"Once those days are up, the landlord can go the sheriff's office to enforce it," Jimenez Munoz said. "Evictions are now notified to tenants by mail, they are no longer posted on the doors."
EVICTIONS INFORMATION FROM PROVINCE
The provincial government's website said landlords must issue a written eviction notice to a tenant, giving a deadline for the tenant to vacate the property. If the tenant doesn't remedy the situation or leave, the landlord can file an application with the LTB.
The LTB will then hold a hearing to decide on the landlord's application. The board decides whether the eviction will go ahead, and can enforce the eviction order if the tenant doesn't leave.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, landlords need to give at least 24 hours notice before entering their unit. They're encouraged to maintain proper physical distancing from their tenants if they need to enter.
Tenants who can't pay their rent because they are unable to work -- either because they are self-isolating or have lost their jobs -- are encouraged to speak to their landlords about deferring rent or other payment options.
With files from CTV News Kitchener's Natalie van Rooy