Tenant not paying utilities

5 Replies

Hi to All,

I’m looking for advice on Utilities not paid (Ontario). I have a currently financially struggling tenant occupying my rental unit. The lease agreement indicates that they are to pay the hydro and gas utilities. In 2017, they started paying rent late every 2nd or so month. Each time they were late I did serve them the N4 (notice of termination). The tenant managed to come up with the rent with in the 14days. Therefore I never submitted the L1 (application to terminate the tenancy ) to the Landlord and Tenant Board. The Last time the tenant was late I stated that I’m tired of chasing my rent and next time they would be late I would use the N8 (Notice to End your Tenancy for late payments) which I have documented. Since then 3 months the rent arrived on the 1st. Yesterday I received a letter from the Gas company, stating that they would shot off the gas to the property unless I take over the payment. I can let them turn it off but will have to pay a fee for turning it back on. Winter is fast approaching, the unit should not be subject to sub freezing temps for obvious reasons. If you have experience in this type of a matter I would appreciate you advise. Ideally, I would like to get possession of my unit un occupied asap. Do I evict him for late rent payments in the past or is there a way to quickly evict someone for not paying their utilities?

Thank you in advance. 

I don't know Canada Landlord Tenant Law but generally speaking you cannot evict someone for something you have already accepted payment for IE the late rent payments you have collected in the past.

What you should do though is evict the tenant at your very next opportunity. The next time they miss a payment get them out of there or you will be stuck in this never ending cycle. I manage over 800 units & I can tell you that tenants who are down on their luck create landlords who are down on their luck. The tenant is never going to turn it around. Cut the cord & move on.

@Kris Betkowski

Being in Ontario, it is more challenging to rid yourself of a troublesome tenant, but non-payment is about the only sure-fired avenue you have.   Even then, you need to file the proper, complete, paperwork at the proper time and see it through.

@Thomas S. has written several posts here on BP to Ontario Landlords about how to dance with the LTB in Ontario.

I have a friend who also owns rentals and had dealt with this same issue.  They said they raised their rent rates and now include gas and water provided by the landlord in the rent on all their leases, up to X amount and if the bill goes over X in any month, they can bill the tenant.  They have it spelled out in their lease, and have not had the problem since. This protects their property from the possible damage from frozen pipes during the winter.  I would think based on some local tenant laws, this may have to be set up as an escrow account.

@Kris Betkowski

Here's the thing. If you're going to go the by the book paperwork route - It's going to be a tough road. My advice, get him out of there. Go to the unit have a conversation with this person, clearly they cannot afford it. 

If it's financially viable for you I'd offer a cash incentive (1 months rent?) for them to leave within 14-30 days. Sign the N12 or 11 whichever one is the mutual agreement to break the lease and be done with this person. Your piece of mind is worth more than 1 months rent. This person will likely see cash as a tempting opportunity & offer to give them a good reference if they need it. 

Gents, thank you for your thoughts and advise. As it stands right now, the tenant paid his utilities now we shall see if the rent comes in on the 1st. Next time he's late I'll move forward with the legal route for notorious rent payment.

Cheers!

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