This is part two of our guide for tenants at their digital landlord and tenant board (LTB) hearing. Click here to read part one.
During your hearing
Get set up 30 minutes before your scheduled hearing time – It’s a good idea to get set up before your scheduled hearing time to make sure all of your equipment is working properly and you’re able to log in.
If you’re having trouble connecting to the hearing – Try logging into the hearing using a phone if your computer is having trouble connecting. You can also email or call the LTB to let them know you’re having trouble logging in, but please be aware the wait times on the phone are long to speak with someone. Document and screenshot any error messages you may receive. The same applies if you get dropped from the hearing part way through.
You may start in a virtual “lobby”- Larger hearing blocks may start in a virtual lobby / waiting room. Hearings are public – this means you might be in a virtual room with dozens of other people, all of whom may have hearings during the same time block as you. This part can be especially confusing – it’s best to keep yourself muted until you are called on. On the phone, you can mute and unmute yourself by pressing *6.
In larger blocks, there are staff from the LTB called Moderators – these are the people who will sign you into your hearing. They will ask you for your case file number or your address to identify you. Attendance can sometimes take 30-60 minutes. You should eventually get called on, even if it feels like you’ve been waiting a long time.
Introductions from the LTB – During the attendance period, the moderator will introduce the Adjudicator. The Adjudicator is the person who will decide on a ruling in your case and gets called “Chair”, “Vice Chair”, or sometimes, “Member”. They will explain who they are and how the day will work. They will also let you know that you have options before your case may move to the hearing stage.
One of these options is the Tenant Duty Counsel Program, which is a program run by ACTO (that’s us!) and is funded by Legal Aid Ontario. Tenant Duty Counsel (TDC) are trained lawyers and paralegals who are not employed by the Landlord and Tenant Board, but are legal experts who can give you confidential, free legal advice before your hearing.
The Adjudicator will also tell you about mediation with a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO). A DRO who is somebody that can meet separately with you and your landlord to try to come to an agreement. They are part of the Landlord and Tenant Board. You can refuse mediation, or you can go to mediation before or after speaking to Tenant Duty Counsel.
You are entitled to speak to Tenant Duty Counsel and/or go to mediation before your hearing, if you so choose. They cannot rush you to participate in your hearing if you are still waiting to speak to Tenant Duty Counsel. Remind the Moderator and/or Adjudicator that you requested to speak with Tenant Duty Counsel if you are being moved to a hearing room before you spoke with Tenant Duty Counsel.
Waiting to speak with Tenant Duty Counsel – The Moderators will make note of which tenants want to speak to Tenant Duty Counsel before their hearing. When the Tenant Duty Counsel is available to speak with you, the Moderator will move you to a private room. If you are on video, a meeting invite might pop up on the bottom right hand corner of your screen. You can click accept to enter the room with Tenant Duty Counsel. This may also happen automatically. If you are participating by phone, please wait patiently. The moderator will move you over and you will be told verbally by Tenant Duty Counsel that you are in the private room with them.
Going to the hearing room – If you do not choose mediation, or the mediation is unsuccessful, you will eventually get sent into a hearing room to have your hearing with the Adjudicator. You may be added into the hearing room while another hearing is ongoing. Try not to interrupt their proceeding – keep yourself on mute until it is your turn. Wait and listen for your Case File Number to be called. Your landlord or their representative may also be in the room waiting.
After your hearing
If you think the decision made was unfair – If you don’t think you had a fair hearing, you have a right to file a request to review within 30 days from the date of the order is issued. You may also have grounds to appeal to Divisional Court and request a stay on an eviction order. If you are unsure, remember that you can always contact your local community legal clinic for free advice. Here is more information on how to file your request for review: https://www.acto.ca/documents/boardorderwrong/
If your hearing was adjourned – Make sure you write notes right after the adjournment or as soon as you can. Your notes should include the names of the Adjudicator, Landlord’s Representative, any witnesses brought forward by the Landlord, what documents were discussed, and what was said by the Adjudicator, Landlord and their representative. Before your next hearing, you can contact your local legal clinic for assistance.
The LTB will send all of the parties a new Notice of Hearing. If more than a month has passed and you still have not received your new Notice, you should contact the LTB for an update by checking the status of the application.
We hope that these tips and explanations are helpful for tenants when navigating the confusing process of digital hearings at the Landlord and Tenant Board. We will update this blog when new information becomes available or the digital process changes. For more information on tenant rights, please check out our Tip Sheets and Guides.