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Rent arrears increasing for Sault social services

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The District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Board (DSSMSSB) is calling for faster processing times at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB.)

The District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Board is calling for faster processing times at the Landlord and Tenant Board. A Social Services Sault Ste. Marie sign. (Mike McDonald/CTV News Northern Ontario)

The board says it is owed about $58,000 in back rent, which is a more than 20 per cent increase from this time last year. DSSMSSB CEO Mike Nadeau told CTV News this is due to an eviction hearing backlog at the LTB.

“We’re seeing that there's still about a 12-month wait for us to get to the tribunal to get an eviction order,” he said – adding the delays are hampering DSSMSSB’s ability to deal with problem tenants, leading to complaints from other tenants that it is failing to provide safe and peaceful enjoyment of rental units.

“Because of the delay, now we're having tenants that are frustrated, and rightfully so, and they're going to the tenant board on the other side,” said Nadeau.

“We're kind of in this really unique catch-22 position and we're asking the (Province) to really speed up the tribunal process so that it's fair for all parties and all tenants.”

Nadeau said the decision to evict a tenant is not taken lightly.

“That is our last resort,” he said.

“As you're aware, we are responsible for providing emergency shelter services, homelessness services. So, it's not something that our team takes very lightly whatsoever. However, unfortunately, the reality is, is some tenancies do not and they're not successful and we do need to go down that path.”

In a statement to CTV News, the LTB said it is continuing to work on reducing backlogs through streamlining processes, adopting new technology and hiring more staff.

Officials with LTB said they have already held more hearings this year compared to all of 2023 and are projecting over 100,000 hearings to be completed by the end of the year.

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