Any real estate transaction is a form of Contract Law. Landlord-Tenant Law is no different because a lease is just a type of contract.
What is different about Landlord-Tenant Law is that rental accommodations are often in short supply, especially in times of economic prosperity. Inevitably when demand exceeds supply prices go up. But when prices go so high that many of the people who need to rent places to live cannot afford them, politicians step in and impose limits on rents or, more accurately, on the amount rents can be increased each year.
Therefore, these days rents and relations between landlords and tenants are regulated. The regulatory body you will soon come to know, especially if you are a landlord in Ontario, is the Landlord and Tenant Board.
It is normally the case that both landlords and tenants’ associations use Landlord Tenant Lawyers when they appear before the Landlord and Tenant Board. Many of the issues that come before that Board relate, of course, to rent. Landlords can apply to increase the rent over and above the province’s rent control guidelines for a year. Tenants can apply to have rents decreased or to receive rebates because a landlord has failed to meet maintenance obligations.
In Ontario, a landlord cannot evict a tenant without the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board. If a landlord applies for an order evicting a tenant for failing to pay rent, the Board will generally hear the landlord’s application quickly, within 25 days of receiving the application and will usually issue its decision within 4 days.
It goes without saying that if you are a landlord, you will put yourself at considerable risk if you do not retain a Landlord-Tenant Lawyer in all legal proceedings involving your property and tenants.
Whenever possible, tenants should also hire a Landlord-Tenant Lawyer to represent them in a dispute with their landlord. If you are a tenant and cannot afford to hire a Landlord-Tenant Lawyer to represent you, you should at least meet for a consultation so the Lawyer can help you understand what is likely to happen in a proceeding before the Landlord and Tenant Board, what you will need to bring in the form of evidence, and just generally to help you formulate a winning strategy.