Cost of Evicting a Tenant: the Ultimate Guide for Canadian Landlords

cost of evictions in Canada
cost of evictions in Canada

One of the biggest risks you’ll face as a landlord is a tenant who doesn’t pay their rent. While you can do your best to screen for quality tenants, there’s still no guarantee of a steady flow of rent payments. Unexpected issues may arise, causing them to fall behind or outright refuse to pay.

In addition, tenants may also become a nuisance, blatantly violate the rules of the lease agreement, or cause damage to your rental property

Sometimes, negotiating a payment schedule with the tenant for past due rent or issuing a verbal or written warning can solve the problem. But, in some cases, there’s no other solution but to evict them from your property.

So how do you go about evicting a tenant in Canada? What does the process entail, and how long will it take to get the job done? And most importantly, how much will it cost you?

As a landlord in Canada, you need to keep three things in mind when calculating the cost of evicting a tenant:

A. Loss of Rental Income During Evictions

The only recourse that landlords have to deal with non-payment of rent and tenants who refuse to leave the unit is to go through the provincial tribunal or court to file for tenant eviction.

The problem is that the process of eviction in most provinces suffers mainly from long delays due to a high backlog of hearings. So it takes a long time  to carry out eviction procedures from start to finish.

The duration of the eviction process in Canada depends on three things:

Statutory Delays

A statutory delay is the length of time you must wait before requesting an eviction order through the tribunal or Court to remove a tenant. It varies from province to province.

This time frame gives the tenant a chance to pay you any outstanding rent. Once the statutory delay expires, you can apply for an eviction order based on non-payment of rent.

How long does it take to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent in each province?

In British Columbia, a landlord must issue a 10-day notice to end tenancy for unpaid rent when a landlord fails to pay rent by the agreed upon date. Within the 10 days, if the tenant fails to pay the outstanding balance of rent, a landlord must wait the respective 10 days before they can apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch to claim the lost rental income.

When a landlord wishes to remove a tenant in Alberta, the landlord is to serve the tenant with a 14- day notice to vacate the unit.

In Saskatchewan when a tenant is 15 days late to paying rent, the landlord has the right to immediately end the tenancy by serving the tenant with an eviction notice.

In Manitoba a landlord is entitled to evict a tenant 5 days after the rent is due. On the 5th day, the landlord can ask the tenant to vacate the unit and has full discretion in determining how soon the tenant should vacate the unit.

The average amount of time given to tenants to allow them to leave is between 5 and 10 additional days (this is at the discretion of the landlord as there is no guidance on this).

In Ontario, eviction proceedings take at least 25 days.

First, a landlord must issue a Termination Notice (N4 Form) when the tenant is late on rent, then they have to wait 14 days to file an application for eviction (L1 Form) with the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict the tenant.

In addition to this initial 14 days, and unlike any other province, there is also a statutory requirement that the landlord must wait an additional 11 days to allow the tenant to either pay the outstanding balance or vacate the unit before the landlord is allowed to hire a sheriff to enforce the standard order.

In Quebec, the landlord must wait 3 weeks from when the payment was initially due before filing to evict a tenant. Once a tenant is 21 days late, the landlord can then apply to the Tribunal to end the tenancy, remove the tenant, and recover the lost rent.

Following the application for eviction after 21 days, if the tenant pays the outstanding balance to the landlord before the Tribunal reaches a conclusion, then the termination of the tenancy is avoided.

In Nova Scotia, a landlord can only serve a delinquent tenant with a notice after their rent is 15 days late. Further, a landlord must wait an additional 15 days from the date the tenant is handed the eviction notice before the eviction can be carried out, totalling a minimum of 30 days of mandatory wait time before a tenant can be evicted.

In PEI, a landlord can issue a notice to evict the tenant as soon as rent is 1 day late. The tenant then has 20 days to vacate the unit. If they manage to pay the outstanding balance within 10 days, then the eviction notice is invalidated.

Similar to PEI, in New Brunswick the landlord can issue an eviction notice to a tenant as soon as rent is 1 day late. The tenant then has 15 days to vacate the unit.

In Newfoundland when a tenant is 5 days late in paying rent, a landlord will then serve a tenant with notice that the tenancy has ended, and the tenant then has 10 days to vacate the unit amounting to an average of 15 days for the entire eviction process.

Court Delays

Court delays refer to the time between issuing an eviction notice to the tenant and when the arbitrator decides on a verdict. This time frame includes delays in scheduling a hearing date and all the arbitration proceedings until a final decision is made regarding the case.

How long does it take to get an eviction court order?

In British Columbia, after a landlord files the appropriate 10-day notice to end tenancy for unpaid rent and a tenant has not paid all outstanding rent or vacated the unit, the landlord must then proceed to claim the unpaid rent amount with the provincial tribunal (the RTB).

In BC, the tribunal can take 1-2 weeks to schedule a hearing for the two parties to plead their case depending on the availability of arbitrators and their caseload. Following the end of the arbitration, the tribunal will make the final decision within 30 days of the hearing.

In Alberta, it can take as little as 5 days to as much as 48 days for a landlord to have a hearing scheduled. On average, it takes 25 days after filing a dispute to get a hearing scheduled. Following the conclusion of the hearing, it takes an additional 10 days for the arbitrator to reach a final and binding decision. Depending on the outcome of the possession order, a landlord may further need to wait between 10 to 30 days before they can regain possession of the unit.

In Saskatchewan, due to the lighter caseload, hearings are scheduled approximately 7 days from when the claim is brought the tribunal.

Manitoba’s court system adds an additional 15 days in lost time. This is because it takes approximately 12 days for the hearing to be scheduled. Following the hearing, the arbitrators release the final outcome after 3 days.

Ontario’s court delays total an average of 51 days. It takes 14 days for the provincial tribunal to schedule a hearing. When the hearing date is set, it is typically scheduled for 4-6 weeks later.

Similar to Ontario, Quebec’s tribunal system is subject to heavy delays. It can take up to 3 months in some cases for a tribunal to release a final decision. However, on average, it takes 30 days for a final and binding decision to be made.

For Nova Scotian landlords, it can take up to an additional 20 days to receive a verdict for eviction. This is a combination of delays in scheduling the hearing and waiting for a conclusion by the arbitrator to be reached. 

In PEI, the provincial tribunal prioritises eviction hearings over other landlord-tenant disputes. So hearings are scheduled between 7 – 10 days after the landlord brings forth the claim to the tribunal.

New Brunswick boasts the shortest court delay length across Canada. Landlords there face shorter wait times as it takes an average of 5 days for the court to issue their decision.

In Newfoundland, after requesting a hearing at the Residential Tenancies, there is an additional 14 day wait before the hearing is conducted. While the average length of delay is 14 days, tenants, in some cases, can have up to 18 days to file an appeal and have the case reconsidered.

Sheriff Delays

In some cases, you’ll need to hire a sheriff to enforce an Order of Possession or a Court order to remove the non-paying tenant. Naturally, this step will lengthen the eviction process.

How long does a sheriff take to evict a tenant?

In every province except Ontario, it takes between 1 and 6 days for the sheriff to enforce an eviction. 

Due to a backlog of cases in the Landlord and Tenancy Board (LTB), removing a tenant in Ontario takes much longer. As a result, you can expect to wait up to 30 days for a sheriff to uphold an eviction order. 

The delay in enforcement is one of the reasons carrying out an eviction in Ontario takes much more time than in other provinces. As the graph below illustrates, the process takes approximately eight times longer than the rest of Canada.

How Long Does the Eviction Process Take in Total?

It takes between two and three months to remove a delinquent tenant, depending on your province. Ontario has the most prolonged procedural delays in the eviction process, while Saskatchewan experiences the shortest delays.

So how much rent in total can a landlord expect to lose?

You can calculate the total amount of rent you can expect to lose during an eviction using the following formula:

TOTAL LOST RENT $ = AVG EVICTION TIME (+1 MONTH TO FIND A NEW TENANT) X AVG MONTHLY RENT $

To determine the total cost in lost rent, you’ll need to estimate the monthly average rent and utilities in your province:

Besides the loss of regular rent payments, you can expect to spend about one month posting ads, screening applications, and signing a lease with a new tenant. You may also need to include the cost of repairs to your rental unit resulting from damage done by the delinquent tenant. 

 In addition, you’ll need to tally up all the legal expenses, court fees, etc., you’re likely to incur during eviction proceedings.

The average landlord renting a 1-bedroom unit can expect to lose $2,000 to $4,000 in rent during an eviction. In Ontario, landlords are subject to much higher losses as Ontario landlords can expect to lose $9,000 in rent! The higher amount is due to the lengthy eviction process in Ontario (three to five months long) combined with the higher average rent prices.

B. Eviction Legal Costs

In addition to lost rental income during the eviction process, you may face thousands of dollars in legal expenses.

There are 3 types of legal costs:

Legal Fees

Legal expenses mainly include the cost of hiring a paralegal to deal with a case on your behalf. Paralegals will file relevant paperwork, handle the eviction hearing, and conduct negotiations that may be necessary throughout the process.

Legal Costs For Eviction in Canada

In British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, it costs between $700 and $800 to hire a paralegal to carry out the eviction process. 

However, in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, and Newfoundland, the average cost ranges from $400 to $500.

Unsurprisingly, Ontario and Quebec are the most expensive provinces for legal assistance due to longer eviction processes. In Ontario, legal fees cost $2,000 on average, and in Quebec, they cost $1,000 on average.

Court Fees

Court fees cover the cost of filing a claim through a Court or a tribunal. Generally, you can expect to pay between $50 and $100.

Once again, Ontario remains the outlier, as the cost to file an eviction application with the LTB is $186.

Sheriff Fees

The cost of hiring a sheriff to enforce an eviction order varies widely across Canada. On average, you can anticipate paying $100 to $200.

In Ontario, due to the high demand for sheriffs, a landlord can spend approximately $400 to remove a delinquent tenant.

On the other hand, landlords in Newfoundland, PEI, and New Brunswick pay a measly $50 to $75 for the same service.

C. Estimated Property Damage Costs

Lost rental income is already one of the scariest expenses you can face as a landlord. But it’s much worse if the delinquent tenant causes damage to your unit before vacating it.

In Canada, 1 in 6 eviction cases includes a claim for compensation for damages to the unit on top of lost rent. The average landlord claims $1,500 and $3,500 in court against a tenant for property damage 

Damages caused by a tenant can substantially increase your financial loss following an eviction, as you must spend money on repairs. You also lose rental income over an extended period since you need more time to make the unit move-in ready for a new tenant. 

It can take 1-2 weeks to do simple repairs to the property. You may not be able to recover the total amount in damages through the court system and be forced to cover some expenses out of pocket.

What is the total cost of eviction?

The costs that come with evicting a tenant can be substantial. Over the entire eviction process, you can expect to lose about two months of rental income if you decide to end a tenancy. And this figure doesn’t include, on average, the additional month of lost income before you find a replacement tenant.

The average cost shouldered by landlords across Canada is $4,000 to $5,000 in eviction expenses. These costs can even reach $11,000 in more expensive provinces with lengthy processes, such as Ontario.

How do landlords protect their rental income and keep renting risk-free?

As a landlord, the first step you should take to protect your rental unit from delinquent tenants is to properly screen them before signing a lease agreement. A solid screening service will provide valuable insight into tenants’ financial history and background. You can then use the information to help you choose the ideal tenant.

SingleKey offers a comprehensive Tenant Credit and Background Check that includes a full credit check and a background check with a social media scan. All these vital details are packed in a single report, which you can have at your fingertips in as little as 5 minutes!

Dealing with non-paying tenants can be a financial nightmare, even more so if you need to remove them from your property. After all, you become a landlord to earn passive income, not pay a mountain of expenses! If you’re looking for peace of mind when it comes to your rental income, be sure to check out  SingleKey’s Rent Guarantee Program. By signing up, you’ll receive coverage for up $60,000 in lost rental income should your tenant fail to pay their rent.