Brochure: Important Information about Your Hearing


Table of Contents

Overview

Why a hearing is held

The Residential Tenancies Act has rules for landlords and tenants to follow. If a landlord or a tenant thinks someone has not followed these rules, they can file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).

When an application is filed, the LTB will schedule a hearing. The LTB holds a hearing to consider the application. The person who made the application will try to show why the application should be granted, and the other side tries to show why it should not be granted.

The person in charge of the hearing is called a member. The member will listen to what each person has to say and then make a decision.

The Landlord and Tenant Board also holds case management hearings for applications filed by landlords who want to raise rent above the guideline because they have made capital expenditures (major renovations, repairs, replacements or additions). Case management hearings are discussed in more detail in the Practice Direction on Case Management Hearings.

People at the hearing

A member (adjudicator) will be at your hearing. The member is in charge of the hearing. They cannot provide legal advice or tell you how to present your case. It is up to you to present evidence that supports your position. The member may ask questions during the hearing.

The person who filed the application is called the applicant. The applicant or their representative must come to the hearing. If they do not, their application may be dismissed.

The other person named in the application is called the respondent. They are also given notice to come to the hearing. If the respondent or their representative does not come, a decision can be made without them.

The applicant and the respondent are called parties to the application. In most cases, this is the landlord and tenant. In some cases, there may be more than one landlord or more than one tenant.

If the applicant or respondent has a representative who will represent them during the hearing, that person will be at the hearing too.

If a party has a witness or witnesses who can tell the member something about the situation, then they will also be in the hearing room for some or all of the hearing.

Hearing formats

Hearings are held in one of 4 formats:

The LTB will decide which format your hearing will be in.

Hearing date and time

Once an application is filed, the LTB will usually mail a copy of the application and the Notice of Hearing to you and the other parties.

The Notice of Hearing tells you the time, date, and location of your hearing, or if a written hearing will be held, it tells you the deadlines for filing documents with the LTB.

If you are having an oral hearing, you should arrive at your hearing 30 minutes before the actual start time so that you have time to sign in, locate your hearing room and organize yourself for the hearing. If you are late, the LTB can decide to hold the hearing and make a decision about the application without you.

If you are having a telephone hearing, make sure you call in at the time on your notice of hearing, using the numbers provided. If you have a video hearing, join the videoconference 30 minutes before the start time.

Length of the hearing

Every hearing takes a different amount of time. The length of your hearing can depend on things like:

For oral and video hearings, there are usually several hearings booked on the same day and time as yours. Everyone is asked to come at the same time. The member will decide the order in which each application will be heard that day.

You should not be late for your hearing because if you are, the application may be heard without you. On the other hand, you may have to wait several hours for your case to be called. You should plan to be at your hearing for the entire day, just in case your hearing is called later in the day.

What to Do Before the Hearing

Decide if you want to have a representative at the hearing

You can represent yourself at the hearing, or you can have someone else represent you. A representative can be a lawyer, a paralegal, a friend or a relative.

If you have anyone other than a lawyer or paralegal represent you, you must give the LTB your written permission to have that person represent you.

For more information, read the Practice Direction on Representation before Social Justice Tribunals Ontario.

Make copies of any evidence

If you want to give any evidence at the hearing, such as a document or a picture, you should bring three copies – one for the member, one for the other side and one for you.

Arrange for any witnesses

If you have witnesses that you want at the hearing, you must arrange for them to come.

If you think your witness will come to the hearing when you ask them to, then simply ask them to come. Make sure they know when and where the hearing will take place.

If you are not sure whether a witness will come, you can ask the LTB to issue a summons by filling out a Request for the Board to Issue a Summons. A summons is a legal document that tells that person to go to the hearing. Send the form to the LTB well in advance of your hearing. For more information, read the Requesting a Summons brochure.

If you cannot come to the hearing

A hearing before the LTB is an important legal matter. It is important that you attend.

If you know before your hearing date that you cannot come to the hearing, you have three choices:

  1. Ask a person to go to the hearing and represent you.
    If that person is someone other than a lawyer or paralegal, they must have your written permission to represent you. You must also give them all of the information they will need to go ahead with the hearing.
  2. Ask all of the other parties before the hearing date if they will agree to set a new hearing date.
    If they agree, you must file a Request to Reschedule a Hearing no later than noon the day before your hearing. You can only do this if all the other parties agree. Even if all the parties do agree, the LTB may deny your request.
  3. Attend the hearing and ask for the hearing to be adjourned.
    You or your representative must go to the hearing and explain why you cannot go ahead. If the member does not allow the adjournment request, the hearing will go ahead on that day.

Request French language services

To request a hearing or mediation in French, complete the Request for French-Language Services or Request for Accommodation form. A member who speaks French will be assigned to your hearing. Make your request as soon as possible and well in advance of your hearing date.

Other languages

The LTB does not usually provide interpreters for languages other than French or English. If you want an interpreter with you at the hearing, then you are expected to arrange for someone to interpret for you. This person could be:

Request a sign language interpreter

The LTB will provide a sign language interpreter (American Sign Language, langue des signes québécoise) or real time captioning for anyone participating in a proceeding who has a hearing impairment. To request a sign language interpreter, complete the Request for French-Language Services or Request for Accommodation form. Make your request as soon as possible and well in advance of your hearing.

Request accommodation under the Human Rights Code

If you have a disability or another Human Rights Code-related need, you can ask the LTB to make special arrangements (called an accommodation) so that you can have full access to LTB services and participate fully in LTB hearings and mediations.

To make this request, submit the accommodation form. If it is difficult for you to fill out the form, email the office handling your case or call. The email addresses for each office are on the Contact the LTB page.

For more information, please see the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario Accessibility and Accommodation Policy at www.SJTO.ca under "Accessing our Services".

On the Hearing Day

The hearing process

Note: The following describes the standard process for an oral, video conference or telephone hearing. If you have a written hearing, you will be given instructions in the Notice of Hearing.

  1. The applicant tells their story
    At the hearing, the applicant tells why they made the application and gives any evidence they have to back up those reasons. The applicant can give evidence or call witnesses to give evidence. The applicant should give the member and the respondent a copy of any documents they have brought to the hearing.

  2. The respondent can ask the applicant questions
    When the applicant and their witnesses have finished, the respondent can ask them questions. The reason for asking questions is to clarify something they said, to get more details, or to show that an error may have been made – it is not to argue with them.

  3. The respondent tells their story
    The respondent then tells their side of the story and gives any evidence they have to back up what they have said. They can also call witnesses to give evidence. The respondent should give the member and the applicant a copy of any documents they have brought to the hearing.

  4. The applicant can ask questions
    When the respondent and their witnesses have finished, the applicant can ask them questions.

  5. The member can ask questions
    The member can also ask questions of any party or their witnesses at any time during the hearing.

  6. Each side sums up their case
    After both sides have finished, each side makes a final statement to sum up their evidence and give their view of the other parties' evidence. Each party can tell the member what decision they think should be made based on the evidence given during the hearing.

  7. The member decides
    The member will make the final decision about the application.

When the hearing is over, the member might tell you their decision right away, but often they "reserve" the decision, which means they will take more time to consider your evidence and submissions. In either case, you will receive the decision in writing. This decision is sometimes called an order.

Tenant can raise other issues on an application involving arrears of rent

If the landlord files an L1: Application to Evict a Tenant for Non-payment of Rent and to Collect Rent the Tenant owes, or an L9: Application to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes, the tenant can raise concerns about maintenance, illegal charges and other ways they think their landlord is not following the RTA.

For more information on this topic, see the brochure Issues a Tenant can Raise at a Hearing about a Landlord's Application for Non-payment of Rent (Form L1 or L9).

Mediation

Mediation is a service that the LTB offers for most types of applications. In mediation, a dispute resolution officer talks to the parties to see if they can come to an agreement which settles some or all of the issues in the application. If all of the issues are settled, a hearing is not necessary.

Mediation is voluntary. There will only be mediation if both sides want to try it.

If you do try mediation and you do not settle the issues in the application, your hearing will take place as scheduled. At your hearing, you cannot talk about what was said in mediation, because mediation is confidential.

For more information about mediation, see the brochure: Mediation at the LTB.

Tenant Duty Counsel

Tenant duty counsel is a lawyer or other legal professional who helps tenants on the day of their hearing. The service is offered by Legal Aid Ontario which is independent of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Tenants do not need an appointment to speak with tenant duty counsel. If you want to meet with tenant duty counsel, you should come to your hearing 30 minutes before the start time.

The counter or security staff can tell you where the duty counsel office is. You may need to put your name on a sign-up sheet. Duty counsel won't necessarily see you in the order you arrive. Tenants with a hearing that day who are facing eviction and tenants with emergencies will be seen first.

If your file is called before you have a chance to speak to duty counsel, let the member know that you would like to speak to duty counsel first.

If you are speaking with tenant duty counsel when your hearing is scheduled to begin, you must go to the hearing room and tell the member. If you don't, your hearing may might go ahead without you.

Tenant duty counsel are usually available in-person at all LTB offices, except Sudbury, and at most other hearing sites. In parts of Northwestern Ontario, tenant duty counsel will be available by phone when you call in for your telephone hearing.


Contact the Landlord and Tenant Board


Call us:
Toll free: 1-888-332-3234
Toronto area: 416-645-8080
TTY: Bell Relay Service at 1-800-268-9242

Visit our website at sjto.ca/ltb
Visit your local LTB office. For office locations visit our website.


Last updated: June 2019