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RTA - Liability Allocation

. Akbari et al. v. Blenkinsop et al.

In Akbari et al. v. Blenkinsop et al. (Div Court, 2024) the Divisional Court considers RTA s.1 as a statutory interpretation provision, addressing the 'purpose' of the RTA as it does (the third of the text/context/purpose elements of Rizzo):
[19] However, the Appellant submits that the LTB committed an error of law by concluding that he was jointly liable for the amounts ordered by the LTB without considering or analyzing the separate roles and responsibilities that the Landlords and the Applicant had with respect to the Complex. He notes the fact that the Appellant was not an owner of the property. Therefore, as he did not have legal authority to sell the property, he could not be legally responsible for a breach of section s. 48 of the RTA by selling the Complex within one year of the Respondents vacating the Complex.

[20] The Appellant submits that a proper interpretation of s. 57 of the RTA is that in situations of multipleLandlords, ionly landlords who are owners of a property can be held legally responsible for acting in bad faith termination of a tenancy where a sale is involved contrary to the provisions of s. 48.

[21] Had the LTB conducted this necessary inquiry to consider to what degree the Appellant was legally responsible, they would have concluded he was not liable because while he was a landlord; he was not an owner with the legal ability to sell the property.

....

[30] For the reasons that follow, the appeal is dismissed. There is no requirement in the RTA for the LTB to adjudicate and apportion responsibility and liability as between multiple Landlords in the event of a breach of the s. 48 of the RTA.

[31] Section 1 of the RTA states as follows:
The purposes of this act are to provide protection for residential tenants from unlawful rent increases and unlawful evictions, to establish a framework for the regulation of residential rents, to balance the rights and responsibilities of residential Landlords and tenants and to provide for the adjudication of disputes and for other processes to informally resolve disputes. 2006, c. 17, s. 1.
[32] The balancing of rights referenced in this section is between residential Landlords and Tenants. It is, specifically, not a statute designed to address the balancing of rights between multiple Landlords with respect to a specific residential unit.

[33] Nowhere in this consumer protection legislation is there language requiring the LTB to make such inquiries and determine issues as between multiple Landlords.

[34] If the legislation required the LTB to make an inquiry and determination with respect to determining and apportioning responsibilities and liability as between multiple Landlords, as part of an inquiry to determine whether there has been a breach of s. 48 of the RTA, the RTA would clearly and unequivocally state this. It does not.

[35] As well, such a statutory scheme runs contrary to the general purpose of the legislation. For example, it would require tenants who file a bad faith application pursuant to s. 57 to participate in a process that could stretch out extensively beyond a finding a violation of s. 48 in order for the Tribunal to apportion responsibility and liability among multiple Landlords.

[36] Such a process could be factually complicated and legally lengthy. It could involve extensive evidence determining contractual rights and responsibilities between any number of Landlords with respect to a specific property.

[37] There are also numerous other methods or processes to apportion liability among multiple Landlords, including, but not limited to, contractual arrangements between Landlords who are owners and their agents, such as the Appellant. In many (if not most) instances that would involve the hearing of evidence with respect to the contractual relationships between Landlords. In many instances, the Tenants would have no knowledge of any such contracted arrangements.

[38] The purpose of s. 202 of the RTA is to assist the Tribunal in determining the real nature of the relationship between Landlords and Tenants. It is not to require the Tribunal to determine the relationship between multiple Landlords in the event of a breach of the RTA.

[39] Had the legislature mandated that the LTB address and apportion responsibility for breaches of s. 48 of the RTA, it would have been an error in law for the LTB not to undertake such an inquiry. However, as this requirement is not mandated or directed by the RTA, there can be no error of law due to a failure of the LTB to make such an inquiry and determination.


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Last modified: 05-03-24
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