Andre Benoit successfully defends a Tenant, Deepti Shafi, from being evicted by his Landlord, Tuong Man Truong.
A landlord, Tuong Man Truong, attempted to evict his tenant, Deepti Shafi, because the landlord required possession of the rental unit for the landlord's own use, pursuant to section 48(1) of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 as follows:
A landlord may, by notice, terminate a tenancy if the landlord in good faith requires possession of the rental unit for the purpose of residential occupation.
The application to evict the tenant was heard by Member Horton at the Landlord and Tenant Board. Member Horton highlighted the relationship between the reasonableness of a Landlord’s application to evict a Tenant for own use, and the credibility of the Landlord’s intention to move into the premises. The jurisprudence surrounding the issue of the so-called “good faith requirement” in such applications establishes that the “good faith” in question applies to the Landlord’s intention to occupy the unit, regardless of the landlord’s reasons for wishing to do so. As Member Horton points out in her Order dismissing the Landlord's application to evict, “The Landlord’s reasons for wanting to move into the Tenant’s unit are not in and of themselves determinative.” Member Horton's decision shows, however, that the reasonableness of an application still speaks to the credibility of the Landlord’s intention to occupy.
The Landlord testified that his reasons for applying to evict the Tenant included (1) the crowdedness of the house in which his basement apartment was located, and (2) he disliked the stress involved in managing a rental house. The Tenant testified that the application to evict was filed only days following a meeting scheduled by the parties to sign a new one year lease agreement. The Tenant felt ill on the day of the meeting and rescheduled. The Landlord attempted to impose a meeting on the Tenant the following day, but when the Tenant refused to see him, the Landlord served a notice to terminate the tenancy for Landlord’s own use.
Member Horton found that,
On the evidence before me, in particular the chronology of events in which over the course of a few days, the Landlord went from offering to renew the Tenant’s lease for one year to giving notice that he will move from a space in a basement to take over an entire house, I am unable to find it more likely than not that the Landlord in good faith requires the unit for the purpose of residential occupation.
The Landlord’s abrupt shift from intending to renew the lease to intending to occupy the unit himself shows bad faith. But, moreover, his reason for wishing to move, namely to occupy the entire house on his own, contributes to this finding by lacking plausibility.
There are several take away lessons for Landlords from the decision of Member Horton: the first is that applications to evict for own use can meet serious challenges from Tenants and should never be taken for granted. The more interesting lesson is that the plausibility of a Landlord’s reasons for requiring possession speak directly to the credibility of the Landlord’s intention to occupy the rental unit. While Landlords are only required to prove their intention to occupy the rental unit, it is important for Landlords to make the reasonableness of their intention clear and persuasive when applying to evict for own use.
Reference: Truong v. Shafi, TNL-87711-16, Order under Section 69 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, issued December 19, 2016. The decision is not yet reported. Kindly contact Andre Benoit at for a complete copy of the decision.