Global News: Tenant, landlord disputes seeing ‘significant’ backlog at Ontario tribunal

Posted April 18, 2022

The provincial body in charge of resolving disputes between landlords and tenants is still reeling from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Between March and July 2020, the province imposed a moratorium on evictions. The Landlord Tenant Board (LTB), a tribunal tasked with rental disputes, did not hear any cases that were not considered urgent during that time.

The five-month freeze had a “significant” impact on active cases and is something that board “is continuing to deal with,” a spokesperson for Tribunals Ontario told Global News.

The number of applications resolved by the LTB in 2020-2021 dropped to a three-year low. The board received just 48,422 applications last year, compared to more than 80,000 annually over the two previous years.

Of the applications received last year, 24,481 were eviction requests from landlords for non-payment of rent.

“When the eviction moratorium was lifted, the LTB turned into an eviction factory,” Ria Rinne, a member of Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) told Global News.

According to Rentals.ca, Toronto was the second most expensive city in Canada for rent in March 2022, just behind Vancouver. One-bedroom apartments were listed at an average of $2,044 per month, a year-on-year increase of 15 per cent, according to the data.

Despite the significant drop in applications, the LTB ended the 2020-2021 year with more active cases than at any other point in the previous three years. At the end of the 2020-2021 year, there were 34,731 active cases, compared to 22,803 in the 2019-2020 year and 14,726 the year before.

There were 52 per cent more active cases at the end of 2020-2021 than the previous year.

In a recent briefing, the province said it was investing more than $19 million over three years to speed up decisions and clear backlogs at the Landlord Tenant Board. The funds are earmarked for the tribunal to increase staff resources and improve technology.

“The LTB recently implemented a new case management system with the goal of reducing delays and streamlining the dispute resolution process,” a spokesperson for the tribunal said.

The new system will include features that “give parties the ability to connect directly and come to a resolution,” in an attempt to streamline the judicial process.

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Article by Isaac Callan for Global News

 

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