LEGAL RIGHTS BULLETIN: When tenants lose control

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Sarah and her friend had a fight while playing checkers and the downstairs neighbor called the police to file a noise complaint. When the police arrived, the argument was over and things had calmed down.

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Two days later, Sarah found an N5 notice in her owner’s mailbox. The notice indicates that the landlady wants to end her tenancy in 20 days.

Is it legal? Does Sarah have to move in 20 days? Can she fight the eviction attempt?

Sarah needs to know that an N5 notice is not an eviction order. She does not have to move before the termination date indicated on the notice. She is entitled to a hearing to defend the claims in the notice.

Even though an N5 notice looks like an eviction order, the landlord must file the N5 notice with the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).

Once the landlord files the N5 Notice, a hearing date will be set and a Notice of Hearing will be sent to the landlord and tenant. At the hearing, the landlord must prove that the tenant’s behavior was so bad that the tenant should be evicted.

An N5 notice can be given to a tenant for three reasons.

Reason 1 – The behavior of the tenant, or that of a person who visits or lives with them, has significantly interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of another tenant or the landlord, or their lawful rights and privileges.

Reason 2 – The tenant or someone visiting or living with the tenant willfully or negligently damaged the rental unit or the complex.

Reason 3 – There are more people living in the rental unit than health, safety or housing standards allow.

An N5 notice should state the date of the incident and the specific allegations so the tenant knows what they are accused of and can correct the problem. If the Notice does not contain these details, the Owner’s Application will be dismissed at the hearing.

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In Sarah’s case, the owner would have chosen reason 1. As this is her first N5 review, she has seven days to correct the behavior.

If there is another event during the seven-day correction period, the landlord can immediately file the first N5 eviction notice with the CLI.

If there are no more occurrences within the seven-day correction period, the N5 notice is canceled (has no legal force or effect) and cannot be filed.

If the behavior starts again after the seven days, then within six months of serving the first N5 notice, the landlord can serve Sarah with a second N5 notice and file both N5 notices with the LTB.

The second N5 notice is not voidable and Sarah would not have the opportunity to correct her behavior.

If you have questions about an N5 notice or need help with other Landlord and Tenant Board matters, contact CKLC for advice.

Jeff Wilkins, CKLC Certified Paralegal (www.cklc.ca, 519-351-6771)

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