An Ontario man who says he’s owed more than $35,000 from a tenant who isn’t paying his rent and refuses to move out is frustrated he’s taking so long for the Landlord and Tenant Board to help him.
Tony Palandra of Markham, Ont. said he had no idea that when he decided to rent out his father’s home to help out a family that it would result in frustration, mounting bills, and ongoing problems.
“They say they will pay the rent in August, September, October, November, then it’s Christmas time and they really have no intention of paying,” Palandra told CTV News Toronto.
Palandra, who said he is owned about $35,000, is one of a number of landlords who say they’ve been waiting for months to have their cases heard by the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board, but can’t because of a huge backlog of cases .
The board had to shut down for five months during the pandemic, and landlords like Palandra said they are having difficulty having their cases heard.
“You cannot talk to anyone one there. The website is not user friendly and I have been waiting nine months for rent,” he said.
Ontario Landlords Watch, an advocacy group for landlords, said there are also home owners trying to sell their properties, but they can’t because tenants refuse to move out.
“Landlords are … looking for any way to get the tenant out so they can get out of the business,” Kayla Andrade, the founder of the group, told CTV News Toronto.
Andrade explained the backlog at the board has always been a problem and the COVID-19 pandemic made it worse.
“The Landlord and Tenant Board has their normal back log, then they have their COVID-19 backlog, and now they have massive changes with their new adjudication system which is causing further backlogs,” Andrade said.
The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) told CTV News Toronto the pandemic had a “significant impact” on their caseload, but things are slowly starting to improve.
“In the first five months of the global pandemic, the Landlord and Tenant Board suspended non-urgent eviction hearings unless the matter was urgent due to serious and ongoing health or safety issues at a residential complex or a serious illegal act that occurred at a residential complex. This moratorium had a significant impact on our active case load.”
“While the LTB recognizes the impact that delays have on these who access our services, we are making progress. Depending on the application type, new matters on average are now scheduled within three to four months.”
“Applicants can submit a ‘Request to Shorten Time’ form if they feel their application should be scheduled in priority. These requests are reviewed by an adjudicator for decision and if granted, the hearing is scheduled in a dedicated urgent-matters hearing block within a few weeks.”
Palandra said his bills are mounting and he also has to pay property taxes as well as utility bills and just wants his case to be heard.
“All I’m saying is either pay the rent or move out,” Palandra said.