Name a nightmare scenario. You’re going about your daily life - hustling to work in the morning, trying to balance a social life, the gym, your bank account, your family, Jessica Biel’s latest Netflix series, and suddenly you get a message from your landlord - they’re selling the place.
The Toronto market isn’t pretty. After scouring through Craiglist, Bunz Home Zone, and a number of real estate agents I landed on a place with a promising location, affordable rent, and laundry. When I arrived at the open house I was astounded to see a sizeable crowd of eager hopefuls littering the sidewalk. My heart sank.
After securing my current rental, it rarely crosses my mind that one day my landlord could call me up and break the news that the house has been listed. Recently, I saw an article encouraging landlords to sell their property in the fall time. When the first leaf fell from my backyard tree, I took to the Landlord and Tenant Board to do my research.
What Happens to Tenants When a Landlord Sells a Property in Ontario?
There is a lot of misinformation out there about what is okay, what is wrong, and what is straight up illegal. Here are the basic rules in Ontario regarding the landlord and tenant rights:
- Landlords can sell their home at any time.
- If the tenant has a lease, they cannot be evicted before the end of their term.
- If the lease is over, it automatically becomes a monthly tenancy. The tenant must be given 60 days’ notice to vacate, provided that a buyer has already unconditionally agreed to buy the home.
- Tenants must allow buyers to look at the unit, as long as there is 24 hours’ advance written notice and the showing takes place between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pets have to be kept out of the way and while tenants can be there during showings, they don’t have to be.
What Happens if You Refuse Your Landlord the Right to Show the Property?
You’re out of here. But seriously, many tenants believe the landlord cannot show the place if they’re under a lease. However, if a tenant refuses to let potential buyers view the property, the landlord can start eviction proceedings. If the tenant prevents the landlord from selling the property in a timely manner, they can even claim damages.
What Happens If Your Landlord Doesn’t Actually Sell the Place?
More landlords in the Toronto areas are using renovictions to force out tenants. Renovictions are a sneaky tactic characterized by a landlord claiming that the property is being sold, evicting the tenant, renovating the property, and renting out the same property for an inflated cost.
Renovictions are straight up illegal in Ontario. Not only do renovictions lead to stress and relocation, but they also lead to moving costs and inflated rent costs elsewhere. The landlord could also be slapped with a big fine from The Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board for breaking the law.
What Do You Do When Your Landlord Sells the Place?
Take a deep breath. You have at least 60 days to figure out your living arrangements. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your relocation is as stress-free as possible.
- Ask for the Written Notice
Make sure your landlord has provided a written notice. This should be a form titled Notice to End your Tenancy Because the Landlord, a Purchaser or a Family Member Requires the Rental Unit N12.
- Ask for the Application
Your landlord may file an Application to End a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant - Form L2. The Board or your landlord should send you a copy of this application and a Notice of Hearing.
- Prepare for a (Potential) Hearing
You can try to reach an agreement with your landlord. If you’re unable to reach an agreement, your case will go to a hearing at the Board.
- Attend the Hearing or Don’t Proceed with the Hearing
At the hearing, your landlord must show a few documents. The first document is their application. The second document would be a form of proof that the purchaser has genuine plans to move into the property.
- Determine Agreement with Purchaser or Move Out
If the Board does not evict you, determine if the purchaser will become your new landlord. If they will not, proceed to step 6.
- Give Notice of Your Move Out Date
If you decide not to challenge your landlord’s case at the hearing, it’s time to prepare to move out. In this unique circumstance, you can give your landlord as little as 10 days notice (rather than the usual 60 days notice).
- Allow Your Landlord to Show the Property
You are legally obligated to allow your landlord to show the property. Your landlord has to provide 24 hours written notice and the showing must be between the hours of 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. If you don’t want to hang around during the showing, make sure you hang out elsewhere for the scheduled time.