Representative Matters

Tenants Successful at the Ontario Court of Appeal

A group of tenants, represented by Vedran Simkic and Matthew Helfand, litigators at Aird & Berlis LLP, successfully obtained leave from, and subsequently overturned, a three-judge panel of the Ontario Divisional Court. In its decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that occupancy limitations in residential leases are not permitted, and that the Residential Tenancies Act contemplates only non-temporary, non-conditional, unlimited occupancy arrangements.

The tenants were the owners of homes which sit on land leased from the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (the respondent in the appeal). Under the terms of their leases, for three months out of the year, the tenants were not permitted to reside in their homes Monday through Friday. The Landlord and Tenant Board initially granted the tenants an order allowing unfettered access to and occupation of their homes. That order was overturned by a three-judge panel of the Ontario Divisional Court. The tenants, represented by Simkic and Helfand, sought and were granted leave to appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal. In a unanimous decision written by Huscroft JA, the tenant’s appeal was allowed.

The Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in White v. Upper Thames River Conservation Authority reinforces and clarifies that the framework governing landlord and tenant relations set out in the Residential Tenancies Act prevails over any negotiated agreement that is inconsistent with the statute. Read the full decision here