Legal Update – July 2015
Residential Tenancy Agreements – Landlord and Tenant Board – Toronto North – RO
Landlord and Tenant Board (the “Board”) rules that the Agreement between CMHA TB, the Tenant and SGI, the Landlord is not a residential tenancy agreement falling within the scope of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (the “RTA”) and the Board has no jurisdiction over the relationship between the Landlord and the Tenant. [TNT-71569-15 2015 CanLll 43425 (ON LTB)]
The Tenant applied for an order determining that the Landlord entered the rental unit illegally, altered the locking system on a door giving entry to the rental unit or residential complex without giving the Tenant replacement keys and substantially interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of the rental unit or residential complex by the Tenant.
The decision stated that the terms “Landlord” and “Tenant” were used for the purposes of identification and were not intended to indicate the status of the relationship of the parties under the RTA.
The Landlord’s predecessor and the Tenant entered into an agreement pursuant to the provisions of the RTA for the lease of the rental unit. While the terms of the agreement provided that the Tenant will occupy the rental unit, it was agreed that the Tenant would not occupy the rental unit but use it to provide housing for individuals with mental health disabilities.
The rental unit was occupied by JM, who was a client of the Tenant. The Tenant paid rent to the Landlord and in turn collected rent from JM. JM vacated the rental unit at the end of May and gave the keys to the Landlord’s superintendent. The Landlord changed the locks on the rental unit vacated by JM and did not give keys to the Tenant. On June 1st the Landlord terminated the lease effective May 31st and returned the Tenant’s last month rent deposit.
At the hearing:
The Landlord’s representative submitted that the Board had no jurisdiction to deal with the matter as the agreement between the Landlord and the Tenant was a residential tenancy agreement falling within the RTA. The case relied on by the Landlord reported as [TSL-50630-14-RV2 (Re), 2015 CanLll 13940 (ON LTB)] (the “Precedent case”) dealt specifically with the relationship between private commercial landlord and a supportive housing provider serving individuals with severe mental health disabilities and individuals marginalized by poverty – identical to the relationship between the Landlord and the Tenant in this case.
In both cases, in effect the tenancy agreement between the Landlord and the Tenant was a vehicle for the Tenant to provide supportive housing for its clients.
As important jurisdictional and public policy issues were raised in the Precedent case it was heard by a three member panel (the “Panel”) that also invited submissions from several organizations involved in tenant’s rights issues.
In the Precedent case the Tenant argued – and the Tenant made similar arguments in this case – that “if the RTA were found not to apply to the agreement, there could be profound effects on its ability, and that of other supportive housing providers to secure housing from the pool of private housing.”
The Panel found that “it is not the Board’s responsibility to remedy social policy concerns regarding the ability of social housing providers to secure housing for their clients…The Board’s responsibility is to interpret and apply the RTA in a way that best accords with its purpose…”
While the adjudicator was not bound by the precedent case, she reasoned that “it is clear that the intention of striking a 3 member panel was to create a precedent that would give consistency to Board rulings” in similar situations. Based on the precedent case the Member found that the agreement between the Landlord and the Tenant was not a residential tenancy agreement falling within the scope of the RTA therefore the Board had no jurisdiction over the relationship between the Landlord and the Tenant and consequently the Tenant’s application was dismissed.