Application and Hearing Process
This section tells you what to do before you file, how to file an application, and what happens afterwards.
If you are a non-profit housing co-op or a co-op member, visit Non-Profit Co-op Evictions.
Helps you decide whether to file an application with the LTB.
If you have a problem with your landlord or tenant, you should talk to each other first. Problems can often be solved with a conversation.
If you can’t solve the problem by talking about it, there are other steps to take before applying to the LTB. For example:
- If you are a tenant, write your landlord and ask them to fix the problem before you file. Make sure to keep a copy of this letter.
- If you are a landlord and your tenant isn’t paying rent, you usually need to give your tenant an eviction notice before you file.
These and other steps are covered in detail in the next section, Choosing an Application.
Helps you decide which application to use.
The application you choose to file will depend on what you want to happen. If you are not sure which application to file and:
If you are a non-profit housing co-op or a co-op member, visit Non-Profit Co-op Evictions
Explains how to file an application with the LTB and what happens after you file.
Get the application form
Complete the application form
Read the instructions carefully. The instructions will tell you if there is anything you need to do before you file. The instructions explain how to complete the application, what to do when the application is completed, and whether there are any documents you need to file with the application. If you don’t file all the documents you are supposed to or you make a mistake on your form, your application may be dismissed.
File the application form
Applications and supporting documents may be filed using LTB e-File, in person, by mail, or by fax at any of the LTB’s office locations, or at one of the ServiceOntario Centres that accepts applications on behalf of the LTB. Find the location nearest you at contact us.
In most cases, you need to pay a fee to file an application. If you don’t pay the fee at the time you file, it will be refused. You can ask for the fees to be waived if you meet the financial eligibility requirements in the Practice Direction on Fee Waiver.
The LTB checks the application
When you submit your application, staff will check the application form and supporting documents. They will also check that you filed your application on time. You are responsible for making sure your form is complete and correct.
The LTB schedules a hearing
A hearing is usually scheduled once your application is accepted. The LTB will give you a Notice of Hearing which states:
- the type of application that has been filed
- the purpose of the hearing
- the type of hearing that will be held (in person, by phone or in, writing)
- the date, time and place of the hearing
In most cases, the LTB will mail you and the other parties a copy of the application and the Notice of Hearing but the LTB could order you to deliver (“serve”) these documents on the other parties. If you need to serve the documents, the LTB will give you an “Order to Serve Documents” that will tell you what documents you must serve and when you must serve them. There are strict rules about how to serve these documents. For more information, see: How to Serve an Application and Notice of Hearing and Rule 10 – Service of Application and Notice of Hearing.
Explains what happens at mediation and describes the types of hearings at the LTB.
Preparing for your hearing day
You might want to get legal advice before your hearing.
The LTB has rules and practice directions that apply to its processes, and interpretation guidelines that explain how the LTB might decide specific issues in an application. The information in these documents can help you prepare for your hearing. You can read them in Rules, Practice Directions and Guidelines.
You might also want to read decisions of the LTB.
Same-day legal advice for tenants
If you are a tenant and you cannot get legal advice before the day of your hearing, you can speak to tenant duty counsel at the hearing location. Tenant duty counsel are lawyers and legal workers trained in landlord and tenant law. They provide legal advice, help with negotiation and mediation, and will sometimes represent tenants during a hearing. There is no charge for their services. Tenant duty counsel are funded by Legal Aid Ontario. They are not part of the LTB.
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.
To speak with tenant duty counsel, arrive at least half an hour before your hearing. 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 emergency matters will be seen first.
Your file could be called before you have a chance to speak to duty counsel. If this happens you can let the member know that you would like to speak to duty counsel first.
Landlords can get legal advice from the Landlord’s Self-Help Centre, a community legal clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario that provides information, referrals and summary advice. The Landlord’s Self-Help Centre does not have staff at LTB hearing locations.
During mediation, a neutral person talks with you and the other party to see if both sides can come up with a solution to the problem. LTB dispute resolution officers are available to conduct mediations at most hearing locations.
If you want to mediate, tell the security guard when you arrive. You will sign a sheet and a dispute resolution officer will come speak to you. Remember that for mediation to take place both sides must be willing to mediate.
If the member gets to your case while you are waiting to mediate or in mediation, they will move on to the next case. If you settle the application through mediation, the dispute resolution officer will tell the member you don’t need a hearing. If you try mediation but don’t settle the application, a hearing will be held and a member will make a decision.
For more information, read the brochure: Mediation by the Board.
Types of hearings
There are three types of hearings at the LTB. The LTB decides what type of hearing to hold.
- During an oral hearing, the landlord and the tenant appear in person before a member and each party presents their evidence. Most LTB hearings are oral hearings.
- During a telephone or video hearing, the parties file any documents or materials before the hearing. During the hearing, they give evidence and explain their position by telephone or videolink. For more information, read the brochure: What You Need to Know about Landlord and Tenant Board Telephone Hearings.
- For a written hearing, the parties file a written explanation of their position and supporting documents. The member considers the explanation and reviews the documents filed to make their decision. Written hearings are most commonly used to decide Applications for an Above Guideline Increase and Applications to Vary the Amount of a Rent Reduction.
For more information about types of hearings, see the brochure: Important Information about Your Hearing.
Who goes to the hearing
Applicant(s): The person who filed the application (i.e. the landlord or the tenant) or a person who is appearing in their place.
Respondent(s): The other person named in the application (i.e. the landlord or the tenant) or a person who is appearing in their place.
The applicant and the respondent are called the parties to the application.
Witnesses: Witnesses are people who can give evidence (information) that is relevant to the dispute. Witnesses will usually be asked to give information rather than offer their opinion. For example, a witness may describe something they saw or heard.
You need to make sure that your witnesses show up for the hearing at the right time, day and location. If you are worried that a witness might not show up, you can complete a Request for Summons. A member will review the request and decide if a summons should be issued. If the member thinks the person will not be able to provide relevant evidence, the request will be refused.
If a witness needs to take time off work to go to the hearing, they might ask you for a summons to show to their employer.
If a witness is summoned to a hearing, you will need to personally deliver (“serve”) the summons to them and pay them witness fees. For more information, read the brochure Requesting a Summons.
Representatives: You do not need to have a legal representative, but if you do, the representative will also attend the hearing. Your representative will speak on your behalf at the hearing, question witnesses, submit evidence and make written submissions.
A representative may be a lawyer or paralegal you hire to act on your behalf. You may also choose a person who is not a lawyer or paralegal to represent you. This could be a friend or relative or someone who is allowed by the Law Society to provide legal services without a licence. If you cannot attend your hearing and your representative is not a lawyer or paralegal, you will need to give your representative permission in writing to act on your behalf. For more information, see the Practice Direction on Representation before the SJTO.
If you don’t go the hearing and no one attends in your place, the member can dismiss the application or decide it without you.
Support Persons: A support person, such as a family member or friend, can attend a hearing or mediation with you. A support person is not considered a representative as long as they don’t speak for you in the hearing or mediation.
Litigation Guardians: Sometimes an application will involve a party without “legal capacity” either because the person does not have the mental capacity to make decisions about the issues in the case or, in certain cases, because the person is under 18. That person can participate in the hearing through a litigation guardian. For more information, see the Practice Direction on Litigation Guardians.
What happens during the hearing:
The notice of hearing gives you the date and time of your hearing. A number of files will have the same start time in what is called a “hearing block”.
Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before your start time to sign-in for your hearing with security. If you do not sign-in and you are not in the hearing room when your case is called, your hearing may go ahead without you.
Wait in the hearing room unless the member has said you can leave and come back at a certain time, or you are waiting to speak to tenant duty counsel or a dispute resolution officer.
If some of the people in the same block as you are doing mediation or meeting with tenant duty counsel, your turn could come sooner than you expect.
You may have to wait for much of the day, so make arrangements for child care or to be absent from work or school. If it’s not possible to finish your hearing that day you’ll be given a new hearing date.
During the hearing, you and the other party will have a chance to question witnesses, introduce relevant documents as evidence and make arguments about the facts and the law.
The member controls the hearing. Because the member is neutral, he or she 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.
Everyone at the hearing is expected to be courteous and respectful. See SJTO Common Rule A7.
When the hearing is over, the member might tell you their decision right away or they might “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 explaining the result. This decision is called an order.
Describes the different types of orders the LTB issues and explains when an order can be changed.
The member who hears the application (or reviews the documents filed, in the case of a written hearing) will make the final order.
The order tells the parties, in writing, what the member has decided and may describe terms or conditions that a party must follow. For example, the member could order that the tenancy is terminated, or that repairs be made to the rental unit.
Usually, the LTB will mail a copy of the order to all of the parties named in the application and their legal representative (if they have one) but sometimes, the member will give the written order in the hearing room.
An order may include written reasons. The reasons explain how the member analysed the evidence to arrive at their decision.
You can ask for reasons to be included in the order:
- while you are at the hearing, or
- in writing, within 30 days of the date on the order.
Types of orders
There are four common orders:
- an interim order
- an ex parte order
- a hearing order
- a consent order
An interim order is an order that tells a party to do something, or decides part of the application, before the final order is issued.
An ex parte order is made when the member reviews the documents filed by the applicant and makes a decision, without notifying the respondent. Only two application types can be decided ex parte:
- An application filed by the landlord to end the tenancy because the tenant agreed to move out on a specific date or gave notice to move out on a specific date (L3 application)
- An application filed by the landlord to end the tenancy because the tenant did not meet the terms of a mediated agreement or order (L4 application).
A member issues a hearing order after a hearing.
The LTB can issue a consent order when:
- a tenant and a landlord have settled their dispute through an agreement and ask for the terms of the settlement to be put into a consent order. The terms of a consent order (e.g. a tenant agrees to move out of the apartment on a specific date) can be enforced by the court.
- a landlord files an application to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent (Form L1) or for arrears of rent (Form L9) if:
- the landlord and tenant work out a payment plan, and
- a copy of the written payment plan is filed with the LTB before the hearing.
In this case, no hearing is held and the consent order is based on the payment plan that landlord and the tenant have agreed to.
Voiding an LTB order
An eviction order issued by the LTB for non-payment of rent usually allows the tenant to void the order by paying all the money they owe by the deadline in the order.
If the tenant pays the landlord the money they owe before the deadline, the tenant can file a Tenant's Affidavit and Motion to Void an Eviction Order for Arrears of Rent. A member will decide if the eviction order is void without holding a hearing.
If the tenant pays all the money owed after the deadline, the tenant can file a Tenant's Affidavit and Motion to Void an Eviction Order for Arrears of Rent. In this case, a member will hold a hearing to decide if the eviction order is void.
Enforcement of an LTB order
Most of the terms and conditions of LTB orders can be enforced through the courts. For example, if the tenant does not move out of the rental unit by the date in the eviction order, the order can be filed with the Court Enforcement Office (also known as the Sheriff’s office) to be enforced. An order for payment of money can be filed with the Small Claims Court for enforcement.
Covers amendments, reviews and appeals.
Once the LTB issues an order, it is final. The LTB will not change the order because a party does not like the decision or because a party believes that a different decision should have been made. For more information, read the brochure: Amendments, Reviews and Appeals.
Amending an order
If you notice a clerical mistake in the order, such as a spelling error in someone’s name or a calculation error, you have 30 days to file a Request to Amend an Order to ask the member to correct the mistake. In your request, tell the member what the mistake is and why it should be corrected. There is no fee to make this request. For details, see Interpretation Guideline 15: Amending an Order.
Asking the LTB to review an order
You can ask the LTB to review an order on the grounds that a “serious error” has been made in the order. A serious error can be:
- LTB made an order it did not have the power to make
- The application was not processed fairly and this interfered with the rights of one of the parties
- The hearing was not conducted fairly and this interfered with the rights of one of the parties
- There was no evidence to support the LTB’s conclusions
- New evidence is available which was not available at the time of the hearing
- A party was not reasonably able to participate in the LTB’s proceeding.
You need to file a Request to Review an Order within 30 days of the date of the order. There is a $50.00 fee.
You must explain in detail the error you believe the member made, and specify the changes you think should be made to the order.
If you want the order stayed (or put “on-hold’) until a decision can be made, you must ask for the stay, and give reasons why.
Review orders can:
- deny the request for review
- affirm the hearing order
- order changes to the hearing order
For details, see Interpretation Guideline 8: Review of an Order.
Appealing an order
Any person affected by an LTB order can appeal the order to the Divisional Court. This court is the branch of the Superior Court of Justice that hears appeals from the decisions of boards and tribunals in Ontario.
An appeal of an order may only be made on a question of law. In general, this means a person must believe LTB’s order was not a reasonable interpretation or application of the law.
An appeal to Divisional Court must be filed within 30 days of the date the order was issued.
When an appeal of an order is filed with the Divisional Court, the order is automatically stayed, and cannot be enforced unless the Divisional Court or the LTB lifts (or removes) the stay at the request of a party.
The procedures for filing an appeal to the Divisional Court are set by the court, not by the LTB. You can contact the courthouse for more information about the appeal process. You can also download the Guide to Appeals in Divisional Court from the Divisional Court's website. You may want to get legal help.
Setting aside an ex parte order
The following applications may result in an ex parte order:
- an application filed by the landlord to end the tenancy because the tenant agreed to move out on a specific date or gave notice to move out on a specific date (L3 application),
- an application filed by the landlord to end the tenancy because the tenant did not meet the terms of a mediated agreement or order (L4 application).
If an ex parte order is issued, you can ask the LTB to set aside (or cancel) the order. A request to set aside the order is called a motion, which can be filed with the LTB by completing a Motion to Set Aside an Ex Parte Order. The motion must be filed with the LTB within 10 days from the date the order is issued. A hearing will be held and the member will make a decision.
When a motion to set aside an order is filed by the deadline, the order is automatically stayed (or put on hold) and it cannot be enforced until a final decision has been made.
For more information, see Motion to Set Aside an Ex Parte Order.
Re-opening an application
Only applications that were resolved by a consent order under section 206 of the RTA or an LTB mediated agreement can be re-opened.
There are two common situations when you can make the request:
- The landlord or tenant did not meet one of the terms in the LTB mediated agreement
- The landlord or tenant misled you or made you sign the mediated agreement
To ask to re-open an application, fill out the Request to Re-open an Application.