Attorney Michael Thiele, Senior Partner with Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP, spoke with CTV News recently to help bring clarity to the situation around the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) and its backlog of cases. Thiele talked about the grave scenario offering insights and an expert’s perspective.
During the course of the interview, Thiele offers an overview of the situation, lamenting the fact that while the disruptions of COVID-19 rippled across the Canadian economy, the housing market has experienced multiple hits since March 2020. Housing prices have increased 34%. Many families are now spending up to 64% of their income on housing. Although interest rates are still affordable, despite recent hikes, many potential homeowners are priced out of the market. Tenants and landlords haven’t fared much better. Some landlords and tenants are waiting months, if not years, for resolutions from the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) due to a backlog of cases. It’s leaving both parties in limbo. “They can’t plan, they’re losing income, they’re left in limbo, and it’s a really difficult time to be a landlord or a tenant,” said Thiele.
Landlord Tenant Board Backlog: Michael Thiele Says Ontarians Are Waiting Months for Resolutions
According to Thiele, when the pandemic began, the LTB closed, only hearing cases that were deemed urgent. Cases submitted to the LTB significantly dropped during this period, from about 80,000 annually to 48,000 during the 2020 -2021 year. Although the LTB has more adjudicators than it did in 2018, many of those adjudicators work part-time instead of full-time. The hearing process is backlogged, which delays getting a decision from the LTB. Thiele said, landlords and tenants are waiting “an indefinite period of time” to even get a hearing before the Board. Landlords lose income. Tenants can’t plan. There’s no adjudication in a timely manner.
Recommendations from Ottawa Lawyer, Michael Thiele to Overcome the LTB Backlog
Thiele cites video conferencing over Zoom as a major hurdle to getting a resolution from the LTB. Virtual meetings are ineffective when one party is disengaged, which often occurs in landlord-tenant disputes. Although the Ontario government has allocated $19 million over three years to reduce backlogs at the LTB, Thiele recommends virtual hearings be optional, giving landlords and tenants the option to facilitate the dispute process. The board also needs to increase staffing to hold more cases in-person.
The LTB does have a disclaimer on their website that it is taking longer than usual to process applications and notices of hearings. Once a party makes an application, they should wait at least two months to check on its status. It can take 45 minutes or more to speak to an agent at the LTB. While the LTB is working on the backlog of cases, know that tenants and landlords across the province are facing the same issues. To learn more about tenant and landlord law, contact Michael Thiele.
You can see Thiele’s full interview on CTV’s Your Morning here: https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/landlord-tenant-board-backlog-why-ontarians-are-waiting-months-for-resolutions-1.5872030
Thiele has a strong passion for residential landlord and tenant law which he also teaches to paralegal students at Algonquin College who are seeking to be licensed as paralegals by the Law Society of Upper Canada. He most enjoys representing individuals before various administrative law tribunals, boards and committees.