If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that people shouldn’t be forced out of their home after a minor dispute with their landlord. Yes, that happens, and it happens often, but it’s been happening a lot more since the Landlord and Tenant Board went virtual, and that made access to the internet another barrier to housing. This seems like something worth talking about.
Just last week, there was an item from Global News noting that the five-month freeze in evictions from March to July 2020 is still having an impact on the caseload of the LTB. While there was a significant drop in the number of new cases last year, half of the 48,000 applications sent to the board were eviction requests based on non-payment of rent, and that doesn’t necessarily mean several months of back-rent either. Often, someone misses one payment and they find themselves faced with eviction.
The other part of this is logistical. In the pandemic, meetings of the LTB have been held virtually and that’s come with a variety of problems, some of which were laid out in an Ottawa Citizen article last summer. Yes, there are people who don’t have physical access to technology, but as we’re all aware, connections on virtual presence apps are not infallible. and it’s making the job of advocates like Britney Rodgers even more difficult.
This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Rodgers, who is a paralegal at the Legal Clinic of Guelph & Wellington County, will tell us about what life was like at the Landlord and Tenant Board in the days before COVID-19, and how the pandemic has changed the course of normal business. She will also talk about the technological barriers doing virtual board hearings, the barriers to proper legal representation, and whether most tenants are even aware of their rights as renters.
Let’s talk about the challenges at the Landlord and Tenant Board on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
To get in touch with the Legal Clinic of Guelph & Wellington County you can visit their website, or you can send them an email at gwlegalclinic [at] lao.on.ca. There’s a list of resources for tenants on the Legal Clinic’s housing webpage, so if you think you might be having an issue with your landlord that you might need legal services to resolve, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.
Image courtesy of Thomas Baker/Alamy.