Abandoned Rental Unit (RTA)

From Caselaw.Ninja

Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 17

79 If a landlord believes that a tenant has abandoned a rental unit, the landlord may apply to the Board for an order terminating the tenancy. 2006, c. 17, s. 79.


SWT-86973-16 (Re), 2016 CanLII 44311 (ON LTB)

12. The Courts have consistently held that a landlord’s reasonable belief that the tenant has abandoned the rental unit, however genuine, is not sufficient authority to recover possession under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (the 'Act'). Pursuant to section 79 of the Act, a landlord may apply for an order from the Board determining that the tenant has in fact abandoned the rental unit. The Landlord in the present case never sought such an order. Given the Tenant’s uncontested evidence that he informed P.S. on February 22, 2016 that he intended to remain in his room and continue the tenancy, on the balance of probabilities, I do not find that P.S.’s purported belief that the Tenant had abandoned the rental unit was even reasonable.


SWT-12392-18 (Re), 2018 CanLII 42489 (ON LTB)

19. While section 79 of the Act is discretionary in that the landlord may apply to the Board for an order terminating the tenancy, pursuant to subsection 37(1) of the Act, a tenancy may be terminated only in accordance with the Act. In other words, absent some action by the landlord, such as obtaining an order under section 79 of the Act, the fact of abandonment in and of itself does not terminate the tenancy. In other words, even where a tenant has abandoned the rental unit, this alone does not result in termination of the tenancy.

20. As the Superior Court held in Borges v. Amici Holdings Ltd., when the Landlord has direct knowledge of a tenant’s intent to remain in the rental unit, the only proper method to retake possession is through an order.[4] In Borges, evidence of the tenant’s intent to remain in the rental unit included a specific statement to both the landlord’s agent and property manager that he intended to remain in the rental unit.


CET-83604-19 (Re), 2019 CanLII 87596 (ON LTB)

12. Given that the Tenant communicated to the Landlords on February 2, 2019 that they would be returning to retrieve the remainder of their belongings in the garage and on the deck, I am not satisfied that the Tenant vacated or abandoned the rental unit. While I do understand that the Tenant’s email to the Landlords confirmed that she “moved out”, in that same correspondence it was clear that she had no intention of abandoning the unit or her property as she planned to return in the following days to complete the move out and clean the unit.

13. There was also no dispute that the Tenant continued to communicate to the Landlords via email and through Legal Representation of her intention and desire to retrieve the remaining belongings left in the now secured garage. This is not consistent with an abandonment.

14. At the hearing, the Landlords confirmed that the Tenant’s belongings are still in the garage. The Tenant requested the return of this property or in the alternative reimbursement for the reasonable costs to replace those items. Since the items are still available, the Landlords shall return or provide access to the Tenant to retrieve her belongings.

15. There was no dispute that the garage is currently housing some of the Landlords’ belongings along with the Tenant’s property. The parties are expected to act reasonably in the enforcement of the provisions of this order.



  1. Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 17, <https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17>, retrieved 2021-03-29
  2. SWT-86973-16 (Re), 2016 CanLII 44311 (ON LTB), <https://canlii.ca/t/gsk4f>, retrieved on 2021-03-29
  3. SWT-12392-18 (Re), 2018 CanLII 42489 (ON LTB), <https://canlii.ca/t/hs082>, retrieved on 2021-03-29
  4. , retrieved on 2021-03-29