Virtual eviction hearings to continue at LTB despite Ontario's new ban
Along with a brand new stay-at-home order and state of emergency declaration, the Ontario government has officially suspended residential evictions for the next 28 days — in theory.
Premier Doug Ford announced that his government would be suspending evictions during a press conference Tuesday and Housing Minister Steve Clark said more information would be coming by the end of the week, leading to countless questions about the details of the moratorium.
And on Thursday morning, the province issued a news release outlining exactly what the ban entails.
"The Ontario government has issued an emergency order to temporarily pause the enforcement of residential evictions and ensure people are not forced to leave their homes during the provincial declaration of emergency and while the stay-at-home-order is in force," reads the release.
"This is the second time in less than a year that the province has paused residential evictions. This emergency order will also protect homeowners who are facing evictions due to court orders for possession of their properties."
But the fine print of the document reveals what many tenants and advocates were afraid of: the virtual eviction hearings that have been taking place at record speed at the Landlord Tenant Board over the past few months will continue despite the ban.
BREAKING: Eviction hearings in Ontario will continue during this state of emergency. As @fordnation orders people to stay at home, tenants will continue to lose their homes because they struggled to pay rent in a global pandemic. The only way out of this crisis is #RentReliefNow. https://t.co/vNhQwW9Yrh— PeoplesDefenceTO (@Peoples_Defence) January 14, 2021
"The Landlord and Tenant Board will continue to hear eviction applications and issue orders, but the enforcement of eviction orders will be postponed for the duration of the emergency order, except in urgent situations – such as for illegal activity," notes the release.
"This includes orders issued, but not carried out, before the emergency order came into effect."
In other words, sheriffs will not actively enforce evictions for the next 28 days, but landlords can still seek eviction orders, hearings will still be held, and tenants will presumably be removed from their homes as soon as the moratorium is lifted.
So I've got an answer h/t @colefwebber The landlord can get an order to evict but cannot remove the tenant. The effect is that tenants stay UNTIL the moratorium is lifted then they are out. https://t.co/h4XBUYbCxT— GordPerks (@gordperks) January 14, 2021
Since the announcement Thursday morning, advocates and experts have taken to Twitter to explain that this will do little to protect the city's most vulernable residents from losing their homes during a public health crisis, many of whom will be evicted straight into homelessness.
eviction hearings continue during state of emergency.— no covid evictions. (@patersonmonday) January 14, 2021
the eviction factory stays open, orders to be enforced when the state of emergency expires. https://t.co/2oOzfDQJxK
Others are saying this is precisely why they've long been calling for an eviction moratorium for the duration of the pandemic, as well as rent relief/forgiveness for arrears accumulated during COVID-19.
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