Method of Payment (LTB)
5. It was evidence before me that the Landlord demanded that the Tenant pay the rent in cash or by certified funds. The Landlord made this demand as the Tenant did not provide her Social Insurance Number and the Landlord was unable to perform a credit check. As I mentioned during the hearing, this is contrary to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (the ‘Act’). More specifically, it is contrary to section 108 of the Act which states that a landlord cannot require a tenant to provide post-dated cheques or “other negotiable instruments”. Essentially, anything worth money is a negotiable instrument so what section 108 actually means is that a landlord cannot dictate to tenant the form of payment of the rent. The tenant is entitled to pay the rent anyway he or she likes.
8. The evidence of both parties is credible. The Tenant intended to pay the rent for September 30, 2010, in cash. The Landlord did not provide any written documentation to confirm the Tenants received the change of management bulletin that explains the preferred method of payment. The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, Act does not allow landlords to dictate/restrict the payment method. The Tenant had more than one conversation and information gathering session with a person wearing a “CLV” uniform. The Tenant distinguished that person as an employee of the Landlord.
15. As there is no argument as to the amount of rent in arrears, my analysis will focus on this issue of the Landlords’ longstanding custom of picking up the rent in cash from the Tenant. Was this custom a term of the verbal tenancy agreement between the first Landlord and the Tenant, which has been inherited by the new Landlords and cannot be unilaterally changed? Or is this custom a courtesy that has been offered by the Landlords and therefore a practice that they are within their rights to change?
17. Based on the evidence before me I am not satisfied that the Landlords’ practice picking up of the rent payments is a term of the tenancy agreement. Therefore, I find that the Landlords are entitled to alter that practice. I do not find that altering the practice is unreasonable or burdensome upon the Tenant as the Landlord has offered the Tenant a number of other payment options.
18. There is no documentary evidence that supports the Tenant’s position that the parties ever agreed that the Tenant had a right to pay his rent in this manner. The Tenant asserted that since the Landlords had engaged in the practice of picking up the Tenant’s rent payment for such a long time, this practice had become an implied term of the tenancy. I do not share this view, as it would mean that any longstanding practice would become a binding term of the tenancy agreement, even if that was never the intent of the parties. If a landlord previously accepted oral maintenance requests from her tenants, and then after many years changed her policy to require maintenance requests in writing, she would be entitled to do so with reasonable notice. Similarly, as I have found the Landlords’ practice of picking up the Tenant’s rent is not an express term of the tenancy in this case; the Landlords are entitled to change their practice with reasonable notice. I further find that altering the change in practice is not unreasonable or burdensome upon the Tenant as the Landlord has offered the Tenant a number of other payment options, including an option that would permit the Tenant to continue paying by cash.
7. Section 108 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (the ‘Act’) states that neither the landlord nor a tenancy agreement shall require a tenant to provide any particular form of payment for the payment of rent.
8. This application is vexatious and frivolous because the Landlord failed to comply with section 108 of the Act and ought to have known better. For this reason, I have not granted the Landlord’s application costs.
2. Based on the evidence provided I find that the Landlord harassed, obstructed, coerced, threatened or interfered with the Tenant and substantially interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of the rental unit or residential complex by the Tenant or by a member of the Tenant's household. The Landlord has demanded postdated cheques or electronic transfer of funds for the payment of rent. Section 108 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 prohibits the Landlord from forcing a tenant to pay rent in this manner.