What Happens If You Can’t Pay Your Rent?
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What Happens If You Can't Pay Your Rent?

When you’re living paycheque to paycheque, even the littlest disruption in your budget can quickly become a big problem. One consequence you may fear more than others is not being able to pay your rent on time.

The consequences of missing a rent cheque can range for ‘easily fixable’ to ‘eviction notice-worthy’. It’s important you know what happens when you can’t pay your rent, so you can take preventative measures.

What happens if you can’t pay your rent?

You could face late fees or eviction. Before you panic, be aware of your rights.

The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) is the law in Ontario that governs landlord and tenant relationships. It takes precedence over the lease you signed and protects you from any unreasonable or unfair terms.

What can your landlord do?

In a sense, it’s easier to point out what your landlord cannot do:

  • They may not enter your rental unit and evict you.
  • They may not demand that you move out by a specific time and date.
  • They may not change the locks on your doors.

What your landlord can do is initiate a legal process that may eventually have you evicted by a Court Enforcement Officer (Sheriff).

What is the legal process for eviction?

You will receive a Notice of Termination for Non-Payment of Rent. On that form, in a box titled “Termination Date” you will see a date.

What are your rights?

The date in the box indicates the amount of time you have to pay your rent arrears. If you cannot manage this, don’t move out. You have the right to request your landlord to file for a hearing with the Landlord and Tenant Board.

You will be held responsible for the application fee plus your past due rent to have the hearing dismissed. If you are unable to come up with the money, the adjudicator will attempt to work out a payment plan. If you don’t pay, you’ll have about 10 – 14 days before the Sheriff shows up to evict you.

How can you make it right?

The law provides many opportunities for you to get caught up with your rent arrears. To avoid the legal process, try the alternatives:

  • Contact your landlord directly and attempt to work out a payment plan.
  • Seek out opportunities to reduce your other expenses, generate additional income or secure a short-term loan.

We understand that life happens, and you may experience months where the “ends” don’t quite meet. Contact us today – we have solutions!

Please note that this article is meant to advise and the information is accurate the to best of our knowledge.

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