'Landlords Are People Too': Landlords Bravely Protest to Evict People Faster

Landlords took to the streets in Canada to protest for what they called "justice," or overhauling tenant law to evict more people.
'My Property My Rights': Landlords Bravely Protest to Evict People Faster
Images via SOLO. 

On April 29, several dozen small landlords—a group that often refers to itself with the folksy, neighborly term “mom and pop” landlords—took to the streets of Mississauga, Ontario to protest for speedier eviction courts, claiming that Ontario’s laws and housing court were rigged against them. 

They marched in the streets carrying a banner reading “save small landlords” and signs saying “my property my rights.” One sign read “Landlords deserve FAIR LAWS.” One sign simply read, “STOP ROBBING STOP STEALING STOP ABUSING.” Another hand-drawn sign showed a tenant—labeled “tenant (evil)”—whipping a small landlord pulling a building like a rickshaw cart. “Landlords are people too,” the sign said. 


And there were dozens of pre-made signs designed by Small Ownership Landlords Ontario (SOLO), the landlord lobby that organized the protest. One SOLO-branded sign suggested that the inability to quickly evict tenants was actually bad for tenants. It read “UNFAIRNESS REDUCES RENTAL SUPPLY,” presumably because evictions could increase the supply for tenants with more money.

In a Monday press release, titled “Housing providers demand ‘justice’ in a peaceful protest march in Mississauga,” SOLO stated that the landlords were protesting “being forced to house non paying tenants for months while waiting for a backlogged hearing at the Landlords and Tenants Board (LTB).”

Donning parkas and underneath umbrellas, the landlords walked through the rain, chanting after an organizer with a megaphone who yelled, “save the small landlords!” They chanted in call and response: “My property?” followed by the response “My rights!” At times, the crowd’s chants sounded like something from a racial justice rally, as the chant leader said “What do we want?,” followed by “Justice!” and “When do we want it?” followed by “Now!” 


One sign suggested that rents should be raised to match the consumer price index, the main measure of inflation - an odd suggestion since rents in Canada have far outpaced inflation for the past few years. 

The large backlog in housing court stemmed from a temporary moratorium on hearings from March to August of 2020. In 2021, rents were frozen for certain types of homes in Ontario. By some accounts, it can take 8 to 10 months to get a hearing.

They’re also seizing on reports of fraudulent tenants who provide falsified documents when applying for an apartment. While there are a few documented cases of this happening, it’s not clear how widespread the phenomenon is. Yet SOLO has an entire section of its website devoted to so-called “professional tenants,” and they argue that the eviction process needs to be sped up to get rid of them.

To speed up cases, the Landlord and Tenant Board already announced it would be adding 40 new adjudicators this month who will be virtual only. Because of the backlog and shift to virtual hearings, tenants sometimes have mere minutes to plead their case at eviction hearings.


In a statement, the watchdog group Tribunal Watch Ontario praised the additional staff but expressed concern over a reduction of in-person hearings. “If the enhanced funding is to be effective in improving efficiency, as well as fairness, it is critical that the Board re-introduce in-person hearings as an accessible option for all parties, as well as implement a full or partial return to its long-standing regional hearings model,” the group said. 

The watchdog group also called for the hiring of skilled adjudicators with a background in housing law and for flexibility with in-person or virtual hearings. In 2021, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Toronto released a report questioning the online adjudication process, claiming that it was inaccessible to tenants who are disabled, did not speak English as a first language or who had less access to high speed internet because they’re low-income. They found that over several months in 2021, tenants were present at only 44 percent of virtual hearings, compared to 86 percent of landlords.

In a phone call with Motherboard, Boubah Bah, the chair of SOLO, said he welcomes more adjudicators but expressed skepticism because there had been promises of more hires in the past. He also said adjudicators are poorly paid which has led to retention issues. “On paper, more adjudicators means less delay,” he said.

He said SOLO’s main issue is not with the number of adjudicators but with the Residential Tenancies Act  and he said the law should include carve-outs for “mom and pop” landlords like those represented by SOLO. He believes that small landlords shouldn’t have to wait for a hearing for non-payment cases and should be able to evict tenants without going to court. He also raised concerns about “professional tenants” who are scamming landlords, although he said most tenants have a good relationship with their landlords. “Our problem is never with tenants, our problem is with the policy,” he said. 

“This is not helping anybody, there is a war on small landlords,” he said.

Meanwhile, no-fault evictions have spiked as rents increase. The Landlord and Tenant Board said that in 2022 it received 5,508 applications for “own-use” evictions, in which the property is seized for the landlord or a friend or relative to live in. This is up from 3913 in 2019. Rents for a one-bedroom in Ontario have gone up from 1450 in February 2020 to $2125 this month, according to Zumper.