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 fifth in our series of horror stories from recently ousted renters

Boni Heward

65, retired lab technician
Evicted in 2018

I moved into a triplex in Danforth Village 18 years ago. It was a gem: a large two-bedroom unit with a leafy backyard, and I only paid $976. The landlord kept the building in beautiful shape, and he was always there when I needed help. I’d often cut the grass or shovel snow as a favour to him. Most of my neighbours had been living there as long as I had, and we were all good friends. For most of my career, I worked as a lab technician for Canadian Blood Services. When my office moved to Brampton, I retired early because I didn’t want to leave my place. I used to tell my landlord that he’d have to drag me out of there with a toe tag before I gave up my apartment.

Then, last year, he sold the building to a young couple with a two-year-old son, who bought the place for $1.25 million and became my new landlords. When I asked the husband what they planned to do with my apartment, he said, “I’ll let you know when I know.” Last August, he served me an N12, telling me that he wanted to move in with his wife and son. I had to be out of my place within 60 days. I was in a state of panic.

In addition to serving me an eviction notice, my landlord politely threatened to withhold the compensation fee of one month’s rent—which landlords are legally bound to pay—if I didn’t sign an N11, an agreement to terminate the tenancy. I was so preoccupied with finding a new place that I signed without seeking any legal advice. As a thank you, he paid for my moving costs, which came to about $500. The woman who lived upstairs also moved out after signing an N11. The tenant downstairs, a woman in her 80s, moved out early because she said the stress was affecting her health.

I had no idea how to go about finding a new apartment. The last time I had to look, there were no ads on Craigslist or Kijiji—you just had to fill out an application. I’ve never even owned a cellphone. And I knew I would never find something as good as what I had. Eventually, I secured a one-bedroom unit in an older building for $1,200. It’s a big adjustment for me, but at least I found something relatively affordable.

After I left my home, I kept my eye on Kijiji and Craigslist to see if it came up for rent. Within six or seven months, I found my old place, renovated and listed for $2,500. I thought to myself, You son of a bitch.