(this information was in a phone call with the excellent Tammy Wohlner at Legal Aid. Any errors in the following summary are mine, not hers!)
Even under normal circumstances, even if you cannot pay your rent at the start of the month, your landlord cannot take action right away.
Seventeen days (not 15) after your rent was due (if paid monthly), a landlord can serve you with a Notice to Quit (also called a Form D) for rental arrears. This is basically a warning that says “you have to pay rent”. A Notice to Quit does not mean you have to move out. You have fifteen days from being served to pay your rent. A landlord may not enter your property, you are not required to move out at this point.
Fifteen days later, if rent is not paid, the landlord has to file an Order to Vacate (Form K) with Residential Tenancies. Form Ks are not being accepted by the Residential Tenancies office at this time. Only after a Form K is file can be forced to leave your apartment.
Landlords who do not provide you with a Form D and then a Form K are not following the legal process and cannot evict you.
So in summary:
- Don’t wait to be served a Form D. If you have had income loss from COVID-19, email your landlord right away and explain that, and keep a copy of that email.
- If they keep trying to collect or evict, please contact the provincial residential tenancies program, information here.
- If you need further help, Legal Aid runs a private online chat from 3-5 every Wednesday on social justice issues such as tenant rights, at www.nslegalaid.ca People can also apply online for legal services or call to apply over the phone 902-420-3464.
- If worse comes to worst and a landlord attempts to enter your apartment to evict you disregarding the information above, please call the police non-emergency and ask them to come and assist you in removing the landlord or their representative from your apartment 902.490.5020.
MORE INFO FROM DAL LEGAL AID HERE (THANKS LISA ROBERTS):