Technically, the dreaded N12 and N13 eviction notices are reserved for landlords who want to sell, move in or renovate. In reality, unscrupulous owners often use them to force tenants out and raise the rent. The fourth in our series of horror stories from recently ousted renters

Mike Carter

35, actor and photographer
Evicted in 2017 and 2018

In 2014, I moved into an upstairs apartment in a house near Bloor and Bathurst. For $650, I got a bedroom, living room and den, as well as my own bathroom, and I shared the kitchen with a roommate. My landlady lived on the main floor, and in early 2017, her daughter and granddaughter moved into the basement. That’s when things started going wrong. The daughter, whom I’ll call Maggie, smoked indoors and wouldn’t pick up after her dog on the back patio. I didn’t want to rock the boat by complaining, so I kept quiet. Then, without telling me, they tore down a wall on the first floor because the landlady couldn’t get around it with her walker. All of a sudden, it was like having another roommate—not only could I see into her room from the stairs, but I could hear all the noise from her unit.

I worked up the courage to ask Maggie if they could put the partition back up. We got into an argument, and she told me I had to leave. A week later, I received an N12 notice, giving me two months to vacate the apartment. Maggie said she and her daughter were going to be moving into the unit, but that seemed like a lie because they’d already been living in the basement for a few months. After I moved out, the next-door neighbour told me the family had rented out the second and third floors to new tenants.

Looking for a new apartment was brutal. After a long day of work, I had to spend all my free time searching, all the while knowing that if I didn’t find a new place by the move-out date, I’d be homeless. My budget was $1,000, and it was almost impossible to find anything livable at that price.

I finally found a one-bedroom basement near Palmerston and Dundas for $1,000. It was a little dark and grimy, and the ceilings were so low I had to crouch to avoid banging my head, but it had ensuite laundry and a beautiful back garden with grapevines. It seemed like a place I could stay for a while. Six months after I moved in, my landlady told me she needed to put the house on the market. She sold the house in March 2018, and I immediately received an N12. I was devastated. I later learned the new owners planned to move in temporarily, then renovate and rent out the place for more money.

I eventually found a one-bedroom basement near Bloor and Ossington, which costs me $975 a month. But I can’t get comfortable. Every day I’m worried I’m going to get evicted again, and next time I might not be so lucky.