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

cost of evictions in Canada
cost of evictions in Canada

Delinquent tenants are arguably the biggest risk a landlord faces when they decide to invest in rental property. While landlords try their best to screen for good tenants to keep their rental income secure, sometimes the unexpected can still happen. Landlords still have to deal with evictions when they end up with delinquent tenants who may not pay their rent or may even damage the property.

So how do landlords evict tenants in Canada? What does the eviction process look like and how much does it actually cost to remove a delinquent tenant?

When calculating the cost of evicting a tenant, Canadian landlords need to keep three things in mind:

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

Statutory delays are periods of time that a landlord must wait before they can apply to their provincial tribunal or court to remove a tenant. This set number of days differs in each province.

The purpose of these additional wait times is to give tenants the opportunity to pay any outstanding rent owed to a landlord. If the set number of days passes, the landlord can then apply for an eviction order on the grounds of 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 are the length of time between the issuing of the notice to the tenant or filing with the provincial tribunal, to when an arbitrator issues a decision. These numbers include any delays in scheduling a hearing date, and any delays in the arbitration proceedings including the amount of time it takes to release a decision.

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

Following the eviction decision from the court, landlords need to also account for the time it’ll take to hire a sheriff to enforce an order of possession or court order to remove a non-paying tenant and allow a landlord to re-possess his unit.

How long does a sheriff take to evict a tenant?

In every province except for Ontario, it takes between 1-6 days for the sheriff to enforce an eviction. However, in Ontario, due to the backlog of cases in the LTB there is also a high demand for sheriffs to enforce evictions. Therefore, following the issuing of an order to allow a landlord to regain possession of the unit, and following the statutory waiting period of 11 days to allow the tenant to move out of the unit, if the tenant does not leave, it takes an average of 30 days more for an Ontario landlord to hire a sheriff to uphold the eviction order.

This statistic is one of the key reasons why the process of carrying out an eviction in Ontario is longer than any other province. While we see the average across the country is only 4 days, in Ontario this process takes approximately 8 times longer than in the rest of Canada.

How Long Does the Eviction Process Take in Total?

It takes between 2 weeks to 3 months to remove a delinquent tenant (depending on what province you reside in). The province with the longest procedural delays during an eviction is Ontario and the province that has the shortest delays is Saskatchewan.

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

You can calculate the total amount of rent a landlord expects to lose while going through the eviction process using this 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 when faced with a delinquent tenant, it is important to consider what the monthly average monthly rent and utilities are in each province:

On top of not receiving rent for multiple months, a landlord can expect to spend an additional 1 extra month to post ads, screen, and sign a lease with a new tenant. This does not include any time spent repairing any possible damages to the property by the delinquent tenant.

This lost income also does not include extra costs such as legal expenses, court fees, etc that may be incurred during eviction proceedings.

The average landlord renting a 1-bedroom unit can expect to lose between $2,000 to $4,000 worth of rent while going through the eviction process. In Ontario, landlords are subject to much higher losses as Ontario landlords can expect to lose $9,000 in rent! This is due to the lengthy eviction process in Ontario (3 to 5 month) combined with the higher avg. rent prices.

B. Eviction Legal Costs

In addition to the rental income that landlords lose during the process of evicting a tenant, they also spend thousands of dollars in legal costs.

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 behalf of a landlord. Paralegals will file relevant paperwork, handle the eviction hearing and any other negotiations that may be necessary throughout the process.

Legal Costs For Eviction in Canada

In British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the average landlord spends between $700- $800 to hire a paralegal to carry out the eviction process. 

However, in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, and Newfoundland, the average landlord spends approximately $400 – $500 on legal expenses over the course of an eviction.

Unsurprisingly, Ontario and Quebec are the most expensive provinces in relation to hiring 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 are the payment to be made to the court or a tribunal in order to file a claim or order to evict a tenant. Generally, the average spend for court applications is between $50 to $100. Ontario, once again, remains as the outlier as the cost to file an application with the LTB for eviction is $175 (nearly twice as much as the next most expensive province).

Sheriff Fees

The cost of hiring a sheriff to enforce an order to remove a tenant widely varies across Canada. The average amount ranges between $100 – $200. In Ontario, due to the high demand for sheriffs, a landlord must also spend approximately $400 before a tenant is removed by a sheriff. On the other hand, landlords in Newfoundland, PEI, and New Brunswick pay a measly $50 – $75 for the same service.

C. Estimated Property Damage Costs

Lost rental income is one of the scariest expenses that a landlord can face. The only thing that can make a landlord’s job harder is when a delinquent tenant damages their property before vacating the unit.

In Canada, 1 in 6 eviction cases includes a claim for compensation for damages to the unit in addition to lost rent. The average landlord claims between $1,500 to $3,500 in court against a tenant for damages caused to their unit.

Damages caused to a landlord’s unit tend to extend the waiting time and the amount of losses that a landlord suffers before they are able to find a new tenant and begin renting the unit out once again. It can take 1-2 weeks just to do simple repairs to the property. Landlords may not be able to recover the full amount of damages from the tenant in court so they may still be left with some expenses to cover out of pocket.

What is the total cost of eviction?

In all Canadian provinces, even the least expensive ones, the costs of eviction can be substantial. From the many days it takes to begin eviction proceedings to the additional months it takes to remove a tenant; landlords lose an average of 2 months (60+ days) of rental income going through the process. They also have to account for an extra 1 month of lost rental income till they find a new tenant.

The average cost shouldered by landlords across Canada is between $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?

For a landlord to protect themselves and their unit, the first step to be taken is to perform a proper tenant screening when signing a new lease.

Tenant screening services offer financial insight into the tenant’s history. Some services, like SingleKey offer a comprehensive  Tenant Credit and Background Check in Canada that includes a full credit check, as well as a background check and a social media scan. All this information comes wrapped in one report, and you can get started in just 5 minutes.

For landlords who are looking for additional peace of mind and protection for their unit, products such as the SingleKey Rent Guarantee program offer just that. The SingleKey Rent Guarantee Program protects landlords from losing rental income by guaranteeing up to $60,000 worth of coverage.