The Good Liar: Meet Toronto’s worst landlord

The Good Liar

Carolyn Krebs (alias Carolyn Goodman, alias Marian Linton) may be the city’s most hated landlord. She ignores work orders, falsifies documents and evicts tenants without cause. How one woman is making a killing off a system that’s too broken to stop her

In January of 2023, Vanessa Colvin was at home at 500 Dawes Road when a piece of mail slipped through the slot of her apartment door. It was from her landlord, a woman named Carolyn Krebs, owner of the real estate company Havcare Investments. Krebs is small in stature, with light hair and weathered skin. At a glance, she evokes the image of a kindly grandmother. Colvin, who had moved into her two-bedroom in 2013 with her three sons, had heard the stories—that Krebs was greedy, cruel and vindictive—but she hadn’t experienced anything like that first-hand. What came through the mail slot was a rental ledger prepared by Krebs. It indicated that Colvin was behind on her rent—way behind—­painstakingly detailing missed payments dating back to 2015 and concluding that she was thousands of dollars in arrears. None of it made any sense. Colvin always paid her rent. Stunned, she asked property management for clarification, but nobody would give her any answers, and Krebs couldn’t be reached.

A few weeks later, Colvin nervously attended her first hearing at the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board, anxious to clear up what was obviously a misunderstanding. But the LTB adjudicator sided with Krebs, ordering Colvin to pay roughly $5,000—an amount that would increase the longer she took—or vacate her unit. If she did neither, said the adjudicator, Krebs could remove her by force. Now, Colvin began to panic. This wasn’t some accounting mistake. It appeared to be a targeted eviction. And the stakes couldn’t have been higher: Colvin had nowhere else to go. Her rent ate up most of her $1,166 monthly Ontario Disability Support Program payments. She realized that she was in over her head. She reached out to Karly Wilson, a lawyer with a non-profit called Don Valley Community Legal Services, whom Colvin had heard about from other tenants. Krebs was notorious at 500 Dawes for surprising tenants, especially long-time ones, with eviction notices. Wilson, whose clinic had represented roughly four dozen people from the building, had a reputation for fighting them. She agreed to help Colvin appeal the ruling.

Related: Meet the most charming fraudster in GTA real estate

The previous summer, Wilson had handled a cluster of cases from 500 Dawes, and she’d spotted a pattern. All of the tenants who were supposedly in arrears and facing eviction were receiving government financial assistance, either through ODSP or Ontario Works. But the math on Krebs’s supposed evidence didn’t always add up. Krebs claimed to have notified her tenants about rent increases, which she then insisted to the LTB that they had never paid. Yet, as Wilson discovered, in many cases the rent increases on the notices tenants received didn’t match the figures on the copies that Krebs filed with the LTB. In November 2016, for instance, Colvin received a notice of an increase from $1,057.74 to $1,073.60. However, the form Krebs submitted to the LTB showed a starting rent of $1,075.65, which increased to $1,091.78. If someone were to take Krebs’s paperwork at face value, it would look like Colvin was repeatedly short-changing her landlord.

Vanessa Colvin has lived at 500 Dawes since 2013.
Vanessa Colvin has lived at 500 Dawes since 2013. Krebs claimed she owed thousands in missed rent

After examination, Wilson became convinced that the forms filed with the LTB had been fabricated. As Wilson saw it, Krebs was targeting her most vulnerable tenants and assuming that they either wouldn’t notice the discrepancy or wouldn’t keep their paperwork. Krebs appeared to have another angle. In 2013, the City of Toronto introduced the Housing Stabilization fund, which helps people who receive ODSP and OW assistance and are behind on their rent payments. If an eviction order is being pursued, a tenant can apply to the fund to get the arrears covered, and a landlord, such as Krebs, might encourage it. Harried government workers can feel a sense of urgency to pay out the claim. One alternative, after all, is that the tenant becomes homeless. For Krebs, it’s a win-win. No matter the outcome, she gets extra cash—either from the fund or from booting a long-time rent-controlled tenant and charging the next desperate person a higher monthly rent.

It seemed to Wilson and Colvin like an open-and-shut case—except both of them knew that, when it came to Krebs, nothing was ever easy. The more they learned, the more they discovered the depth of her deceptive practices. Even her name was a misdirection. She uses several aliases to keep her tenants and pursuers off her trail: Carolyn Krebs (her married name), Carolyn Goodman (her maiden name) and Marian Linton (a total invention). Sometimes, she also goes by “Carrie,” “Caroline” or “Krebbs.” She exploits the confusion, particularly at the LTB, where she frequently claims that her mail has been misaddressed and attempts to steer the resulting delays to her advantage. Much of her strategy appears to rely on her tenants being unable to afford a lawyer or the time it takes to make multiple appearances before the LTB, and indeed many of them feel as though she’s trying to frustrate them into submission.

While Colvin waited for the LTB to decide her fate, a host of problems went unaddressed in her unit: mice nesting in her cupboards, two broken windows, a broken stove and a deteriorating balcony. Such problems were long-standing at 500 Dawes. Between 2021 and 2022, the City of Toronto slapped it with 137 property standards violations, citing defective plumbing, an overflowing garbage area and cockroach infestations, among other problems. The 14-storey building near Victoria Park and St. Clair has been the subject of more tenant complaints than nearly any other privately owned building in Toronto, and as a consequence, it has repeatedly topped various worst-of lists in the city. Dozens of former tenants have claimed that Krebs tried to evict them without warning or reason. Others have accused her of violating their human rights. And yet, Krebs keeps going, always one step ahead of anyone who tries to hold her to account. As Wilson put it to me, “The system is not designed for the kind of malicious intent that you find with Carolyn Krebs.”
The housing crisis has been a boon for Krebs, who now has no shortage of desperate would-be tenants. In Toronto, the average rent for a one-bedroom has increased more than 22 per cent—from $2,055 to $2,513—in the past five years, despite a period of pandemic-related rent freezes. As of November 2023, the average two-bedroom rent sat at $3,400. Lack of supply is one contributing factor, but just as important is the fact that wages aren’t keeping up with the cost of living. To live comfortably, Toronto-area residents need to make at least $23.15 an hour, according to data released in 2022 by the Ontario Living Wage Network—and that’s only if they’re lucky enough to have a rent-controlled unit. Minimum wage is only $16.55. Those who rely on OW or ODSP payments, which is more than 560,000 people in the province and many of Krebs’s tenants, get a maximum of $1,300 a month. Broken down to full-time, that’s roughly $8 an hour.

Related: True tales from Toronto’s rental crisis

A lot of people in such circumstances might end up somewhere like 500 Dawes, and with a landlord like Krebs. Last April, tenants of buildings owned by Medallion Corporation protested poor living conditions. In August, the city ordered a property along Keele Street to clean up mountains of trash that had been piling up inside and outside the building for months. Over the summer and fall, outrage over soaring rental prices and deteriorating conditions sparked rent strikes at buildings across the city. As of November 2023, more than 500 tenants had banded together to protest—the largest rental strike in the city’s history.

There are measures in place to ensure that landlords do right by their tenants, but they lack teeth. RentSafeTO is one such program. The city launched it in 2017 to help enforce safety and maintenance bylaws in buildings taller than three storeys and with more than 10 units. If a building doesn’t meet the requirements—which include things like regular pest inspections and a guaranteed response time of seven days for non-urgent service requests—a tenant can complain to the RentSafeTO team, which comprises 35 full-time staff who investigate and push for action on tenants’ behalf. That doesn’t mean landlords always listen: the most common charge under the program is a failure to comply. Many simply pay their fines and continue to violate the bylaws. As of November, there was $21,098 in outstanding fines associated with 500 Dawes Road.

500 Dawes has been the subject of hundreds of complaints—more than nearly any other building in the city
500 Dawes has been the subject of hundreds of complaints—more than nearly any other building in the city

Carleton Grant, executive director of Toronto’s municipal licensing and standards division, says RentSafeTO has received 595 complaints, known as “service requests,” against 500 Dawes since the program’s inception, more than any other Toronto building. As of September 2023, 547 of those have been closed. The program has issued 124 orders and notices of violation against Krebs, 27 of which have resulted in charges. Out of the 27 charges issued, 22 have resulted in convictions and five have been withdrawn. Even as some complaints are resolved, others continue to be filed. As Grant put it to me, “This is a challenging property.”

Complaints about matters beyond a building’s condition—civil matters between parties, usually—go to the Landlord and Tenant Board. The Ontario tribunal was created in 2007 under the Residential Tenancies Act, which gives tenants and landlords certain rights and responsibilities and a process for enforcing them. The LTB’s role includes resolving disputes through mediation or adjudication. If either party has complaints about the other’s behaviour, for instance, they can turn to the LTB. It’s also the place to go if you’re a tenant who wants to fight an eviction or a landlord whose tenant refuses to heed one. But getting to a resolution, and a fair one, is tougher than it should be. The pandemic made many issues worse, and the system remains plagued by a backlog of cases.

An Ontario ombudsman’s report from May 2023 found that LTB delays have led to hardship for both landlords and tenants. Landlords often have to wait up to nine months for their ­hearings to be scheduled, and some tenant applications can take two years to be heard. As of January 2023, the backlog had grown to more than 38,000 files. The ongoing delays at the board have forced some tenants to endure prolonged harassment from their landlords, months of unsafe living conditions and illegal attempts to force them from their homes. A landlord found guilty of the latter can face a fine of up to $10,000, though the amount more often falls between $500 and $3,000. Tenants who have been illegally evicted can also apply to the LTB for remedies, including compensation.

Related: Horror stories from recently evicted renters

Where others see a broken housing system, Krebs appears to see opportunity. Unscrupulous landlords are able to take advantage of the LTB in large part because the proceedings for evictions are predicated on simple documents—documents that can easily be manipulated, as Wilson discovered. Yet, unlike a criminal trial, for example, the LTB generally doesn’t consider the past behaviour of a landlord. Instead, adjudicators typically make their decisions based on the information from the single case before them—allowing landlords like Krebs to benefit from a clean slate every time. Adjudicators often take landlords at their word, relying on tenants to raise red flags on bad evictions despite most of them not having the time or resources to fight any type of bogus eviction, let alone one concealed by fraud. It’s something Krebs seems to have counted on for decades.
In 1968, Carolyn Goodman married the love of her life, Harvey Krebs, and together they settled in Thornhill. The Krebses went everywhere together: cruises around the world, long road trips to Miami in what they called the Krebs­mobile, annual summer trips to Vegas, boring errands to the bank and Shoppers Drug Mart. Carolyn doted on Harvey—­cooking his favourite meals, peeling his apples, literally scratching his back. The two had seven children, six girls and one boy. Together, Carolyn and Harvey went to every game, play and parent-teacher conference. As their children went off to university, the couple drove to Queen’s or McMaster to pick them up for weekends at home. When one daughter got a summer job in California, they visited. When another went to teach English in Japan, they flew over and stayed for a week. Harvey in particular had a soft spot for animals, welcoming the stray pets his kids sometimes brought home.

The Krebses’ open-door policy extended to people too: Carolyn hosted big annual barbecues for their extended families and weekend dinners for their friends. They volunteered and taught their kids the value of charity work. At one point, Harvey was president of the B’nai Brith lodge in Thornhill and, later on, a member of the weekly Old Farts Breakfast Club—the Krebses were a family that liked to joke around. After the kids grew up, they all played together on a baseball team: the siblings, spouses and friends. It all made for a busy schedule, since Carolyn and Harvey both also worked full-time. Harvey was a beloved teacher at Bayview Glen Public School, teaching various junior grades over the years. And Carolyn—who could seem like such a different person with her family and friends—ran the family’s property company, Havcare Investments.

“The minute Carolyn Krebs figures out that it’s a tenant who’s calling her, she hangs up. And she doesn’t return calls”

In 1995, Carolyn purchased the crown jewel in Havcare’s property portfolio, 500 Dawes, for $8.21 million. Together, she and Harvey owned or co-owned several properties, with some registered under Havcare and others under a numbered company once dubbed “Havcaree,” with an extra “e.” Today, Carolyn and her now-adult children own or co-own several GTA apartment buildings as well as a few other residential ­properties—mostly condo units—in Toronto and Oshawa. She had at least one condo in Florida, which was often used for family trips. 500 Dawes, with its 284 units, is the largest building in the Krebs empire, but there’s also 608 Dawes, a six-storey, 84-unit building; 171 St. Clair Avenue East, a four-storey building with 36 units; and 210 Oak Street, a 17-storey building with 260 units.

The problems at 500 Dawes began shortly after Havcare took over. Krebs hired her family for key roles and handpicked preferred tenants for others. She dictated everyone’s duties herself, using paper sheets in her office to create a maintenance schedule. Paul, her only son, collected rent and processed the deposits, helped with administrative work and picked up repair supplies—though he’s said he was never an official employee of what the Krebses call “the family business.” Nonetheless, he was at 500 Dawes a few times a week. In the beginning, so was Carolyn, often watching the goings-on via the 80 cameras she had stationed throughout the common areas and the building’s exterior. She insisted to anyone who complained that she kept 500 Dawes in excellent condition: regular cleaning; what she called “exceptional” landscaping, including “grass that was always trim”; lights in perfect working order; everything up to code.

Her tenants tell a different story. They constantly battled vermin infestations—ants, bedbugs, mice. According to one visitor, the cockroach infestation was so bad at one point that when the lights were off, it looked like the floor was moving. The garbage chutes were frequently broken or clogged, and trash piled into the hallways. The heating didn’t work, the plumbing was faulty and things were rarely fixed. In 2006, after nearly a decade of begging Krebs to improve conditions, tenants went public, holding a rally called “Freedom From Fear” to bring attention to the building’s dismal state. In 2008, one tenant who had lived at 500 Dawes for nine years went to the press about the persistent problems. As the tenant said of Krebs, “She would rather go to court than do repairs.”

Lawyer Karly Wilson uncovered a pattern of targeted and fraudulent evictions at 500 Dawes
Lawyer Karly Wilson uncovered a pattern of targeted and fraudulent evictions at 500 Dawes

As the complaints mounted, Krebs began appearing weekly at the LTB. Sometimes she was defending her actions; other times, she was launching cases of her own. Without fail, she was there every Monday for what’s known as the “super block”—the huge chunk of time set aside for arrears-related eviction applications. The more she appeared at the LTB, the less she showed up at 500 Dawes. She didn’t like the way tenants bombarded her, demanding that she fix this or that. She could be vindictive, harassing tenants who spoke out or whom she simply didn’t like.

It didn’t seem to matter how many times she was censured—by the LTB, by local politicians, by tenant advocates—the conditions at her properties never improved. Krebs rarely paid her fines and never changed her behaviour. Raking in rent money while refusing to substantively invest back into the building makes for a lucrative business. Between all her properties, Krebs’s approximate revenue could be in excess of $700,000 a month. The extra cash from the housing stabilization fund may make that amount higher still. But it still didn’t appear to be enough: Krebs was an opportunist, seizing every chance to increase her financial gain.

In July of 2011, a 56-year-old tenant named Yvonne Cluett collapsed in the elevator at 500 Dawes and later died. Her daughter, Denise Stewart-Davidson, says Krebs assured her that she had until the end of August, the last month for which her mother had paid rent, to clean out the apartment. But, when Stewart-Davidson showed up in August to move her mother’s belongings, everything was gone, including cherished family heirlooms. Krebs had instructed her staff to rent out the unit. Stewart-Davidson reported the incident to the police, who advised her to contact Krebs. She left a voicemail but never heard back. So Stewart-Davison filed a complaint with the LTB. During the hearing, Krebs claimed that Cluett had been months behind on her rent. But Stewart-Davidson provided proof of cashed cheques that showed otherwise. The LTB ordered Krebs to pay her $775, the amount of the last month’s rent deposit, plus $50 in court fees. Krebs never complied.

By the end of one hearing, an adjudicator remarked of Krebs, “I have difficulty in accepting almost anything she said or wrote during the proceeding to be true”

The repeated LTB cases and negative attention might have pushed some landlords to do better—if only to avoid all the hassle. But Krebs took a different tack: she lied. In 2014, Krebs lost an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal case for refusing to rent an apartment to a 17-year-old because of her age (Ontario law states that people as young as 16 can sign leases). Krebs dodged questions, went on bizarre tangents and offered demonstrably false explanations throughout her testimony.

She claimed that she didn’t have an email address and told what the adjudicator later described as a “rather incredible story” about Havcare’s broken fax machine, which could only send, but not receive, documents. When Krebs did send faxes to the HRTO, she jimmied the machine so that the sender’s number read 000-000-0000. She claimed that Marian Linton wasn’t a deliberate alter ego but a nickname one superintendent had “concocted” decades earlier as a joke, which had stuck. During the hearing, the building’s former rental agent and long-time tenant Deborah St. John admitted that Krebs had been pressuring her to lie to the tribunal as well. By the end, the adjudicator remarked of Krebs, “I have difficulty in accepting almost anything she said or wrote during the proceeding to be true.”

A few years later, Krebs was once again in front of the HRTO, this time for denying one man an apartment at 500 Dawes because of his disabilities. After his ex-wife helped both him and their daughter secure a place there anyway, using her name on the lease, Krebs became furious. She directed the building staff to make their lives hell. Staff called them names, insinuated to other tenants that the two were bringing in bedbugs and frequently treated them as intruders, blocking their entry into the building. When that didn’t drive them out, Krebs brought a trespass order against the father, falsely claiming that his daughter didn’t want him in the unit. Despite the daughter’s protests, police forced him out, and he spent the night in a homeless shelter. The daughter filed roughly 50 complaints about their unit’s condition and their treatment by staff, all of which were ignored. Eventually, Krebs’s harassment campaign wore the pair down, and after a year, the father and daughter moved out.

An HRTO adjudicator ruled once more against Krebs, remarking on her continued deceptive behaviour throughout the hearing. She claimed that she had not received court documentation ahead of the proceedings and, in fact, had no idea they were happening. The reason: she never received her mail—likely because, she claimed, her staff didn’t know her real name. She also tried to claim that the HRTO had her address wrong and that the hearing notice must have been returned to the tribunal undelivered, despite contrary proof from Canada Post. Otherwise, she told the tribunal, “I would have promptly responded.” She hired a paralegal who maintained the story, causing the tenants’ legal counsel to remark, “We would prefer to believe that the respondents’ paralegal is honest but not competent rather than competent but dishonest.”

The same could not be said of Krebs, who continued to stubbornly feign ignorance even after she was confronted with transcripts from an eviction hearing in which the human rights trial was discussed at length. During the eviction hearing, Krebs vacillated between vague and alarmed, often interrupting the proceedings to exclaim how much she, and the rest of 500 Dawes, feared the male applicant, whom she referred to as the “non-tenant.” At one point she exclaimed, “Could he sit away from me? He’s told me to fuck off so many times I’m uncomfortable beside him.” In response, an exasperated adjudicator told her she could simply switch chairs.

During both proceedings, Krebs also deployed another tactic, one she’d used before. She told adjudicators at the tribunals that she’d retained a lawyer but that he wasn’t available that day—she’d need a postponement. When reached, the lawyer revealed that he hadn’t yet taken on the case at all (though he later did). Even after he was retained, Krebs often strategically fired and rehired him, causing further delays. In his 25-year career, the HRTO adjudicator said, he’d never seen such a spectacle. He ordered Krebs to pay the two former tenants $60,000.

None of it appears to have fazed Krebs—even as she’s faced her own personal tragedies. Her husband, Harvey, died in 2015, after 47 years of marriage. Personally, she grieved; professionally, little changed. Paul, who started his own business the year after his father’s death, began to help manage his mom’s many LTB hearings, sometimes attending on her behalf. Krebs herself became even harder to pin down. One tenant at 171 St. Clair Avenue East, who has lived there since 2008, told me he has spent years trying to get Krebs and her property management team to fix his leaky ceiling. Though it has been patched over a number of times, it keeps dripping. He’s called Krebs again and again, but she’s never helped: “The minute she figures out it’s a tenant, she hangs up, and she doesn’t return calls.”

500 Dawes Road at night

The record against Krebs is damning, and I wanted to hear her side of the story. I began by calling both of the phone numbers I had for her, but she didn’t reply to my many voicemails. Next, I called the property management office at 500 Dawes, but staff always said she wasn’t there, and they claimed not to know where she was or when she might show up. In June, I reached out to David Strashin, a lawyer who was named on some LTB records as one of Krebs’s legal representatives, to ask if he would help me reach Krebs for an interview. “Receipt of your email is acknowledged,” Strashin replied a couple of hours later. “I’ll contact my client, discuss your request with her, and determine whether or not she wants to participate in the story.” No matter how many times I followed up, I never heard back. I’d become the latest in a long line of people trying to reach Krebs—and it felt like I was chasing a ghost. People I spoke with stressed that Krebs is notoriously elusive, unwilling to be found.

On court documents, one of Krebs’s addresses is listed as a two-storey red-brick home on a cul-de-sac in Thornhill. I knocked on the front door and waited patiently, but no one answered. There were no cars in the driveway. I stared into the little security camera on the right side of the door. All the blinds were drawn, and the mailbox had letters stuffed inside it. It was unclear whether anyone lived there. I put my own letter to Krebs, which outlined the story I was working on and asked that she contact me, in the mailbox. Another address for her sent me to a strip mall up the road. I assumed that it would be a small office, but it was a PO box inside a Shoppers Drug Mart. Krebs’s box there, too, was stuffed with unopened mail. The store employee added another copy of my letter to the pile. I sent letters requesting an interview to a dozen addresses listed for her on court and property records.

I’d hit almost every dead end imaginable, but there was one more option: staking out her office at 500 Dawes. Tenants told me that she usually visited near the end or beginning of each month to collect rent payments. I decided to try my luck. Throughout the summer, I went to 500 Dawes five times to see if I could meet—or even just see—Krebs in person. A group of tenants kept watch as well, letting me know what type of car she drove—a white SUV—what time she might arrive and where she parked. They told me that she usually used the back door, but I never saw her there. One day, I arrived at 8 a.m. and confirmed with the property management office that she would be there that day. I waited for hours. Countless white SUVs came and left, but none of them belonged to Krebs. I came back the next day, but the same thing happened.

All the while, more and more current and former tenants reached out to me and shared their horror stories—and their failed attempts to pin her down. One of them was Ryan Endoh, a paralegal who has been a tenant at 500 Dawes since 2015. He has been urging the city to take action for over a year. Last fall, Endoh started shoring up support among his fellow tenants to pressure the city into taking action against Krebs, who had yet to address 84 property standards contraventions—relating to overflowing garbage areas, infestations and several other maintenance concerns—dating back several years. Sixty of his neighbours signed a petition in support of a letter he submitted in September of 2022 to the Property Standards Committee. “Tenants are past the point of questioning inadequate maintenance standards,” Endoh wrote in his letter. “This has resulted in the ghettoization of the building and has earned the surrounding area a reputation as an enclave of poverty.” In response, Krebs appeared before the committee to request a six-month reprieve to address the complaints but was denied.

Still, as of this year, Endoh says that none of the 84 complaints has been addressed. He’s in the process of requesting updates from the committee on what actions they will take to rectify the complaints. He says a next step could be for the city to address the problems at 500 Dawes itself and then recoup the cost by adding it to Krebs’s property tax bill or registering a tax lien against the property. Several tenants are also exploring potential civil lawsuits against Krebs, but nothing has yet come to fruition.
As the prospect of eviction continued to loom over Vanessa Colvin, she grew increasingly anxious about what Krebs would do to stop her from fighting back. Everyone at 500 Dawes knew that Krebs had locked out other tenants and turfed their belongings. In the spring of 2021, one tenant, Rashad Ottley, a caretaker for the Toronto District School Board, had moved into 500 Dawes. A year later, Krebs told him his first and last months’ rent cheques hadn’t gone through—even though his bank said they’d cleared. Still, Krebs insisted that he was short. If he paid $1,800, she told him, the issue would be resolved. Ottley’s union agreed to cover the cost. But he still got an eviction notice on his door. On May 25, he was given 72 hours—until 3 p.m. on May 28—to collect his belongings. When he arrived that morning, he discovered that Krebs had already ordered his unit emptied and cleaned. He saw some of his belongings in the dumpster. To this day, he doesn’t know where his cats ended up.

In April 2023, together with Wilson, Colvin appeared again before the LTB, for her eviction appeal. Colvin was anxious and hadn’t slept for days. But Wilson was prepared for a protracted fight. She was convinced that Krebs had lied. Wilson asked Colvin to have faith. She vowed to prove to the LTB that Krebs had submitted false documents and that Colvin should be allowed to stay. Colvin believed in Wilson, but she also knew that Krebs was a forceful woman. She worried that something like what happened to Ottley would happen to her. Anticipating the worst, she’d already moved most of her belongings into storage. She borrowed some cash and forwent her food budget, making do with what she was able to get from the bread truck that stops outside the building every day. She and her son slept on mattresses on the floor, ready to leave at a moment’s notice. She didn’t have much faith that the system would be on her side—Krebs always seemed to prevail.

Anticipating the worst from her LTB hearing, Colvin moved most of her belongings into storage
Anticipating the worst from her LTB hearing, Colvin moved most of her belongings into storage

But Krebs didn’t show up to the hearing. By then, Colvin hadn’t seen Krebs at 500 Dawes in a long time. She isn’t a confrontational person, but she would have liked to see the face of the person causing her so much grief. In Krebs’s absence, Wilson made her case. She was able to show that the documents Krebs said dated back to 2015 had actually been created in 2021. After reviewing the evidence, the adjudicator dismissed the case, agreeing that Krebs had provided what appeared to be “fabricated or false documents.” Colvin could stay. She felt relieved yet wary. She didn’t think Krebs would easily accept defeat, so she kept her stuff in storage for weeks, even as she told others in the building who were facing similar eviction proceedings that they could win too.

Her cautious optimism lasted until June, when Krebs filed a request for a review of the board’s decision in her case. It took a month for the LTB to hold its hearing. This time, Colvin went to Wilson’s office, where they joined the Zoom hearing together. Krebs joined with her camera off. Again, the adjudicator ruled in Colvin’s favour. Soon afterward, she finally moved her belongings back into the apartment.

Colvin still worries about what Krebs could do next, but she’s determined to hold her landlord to account. She’s been referring new clients to Wilson and her colleagues at Don Valley Community Legal Services, who are urging tenants to fight back. As part of that process, the legal clinic has started outreach at 500 Dawes and at a local community centre. Wilson and her colleagues want tenants to know that they should contact the clinic as soon as they receive any paperwork from Krebs—it could be fake. “I don’t think I’ve had a single case where what Krebs is claiming is accurate,” Wilson told me. “We want to make sure that the people of 500 Dawes know they can’t trust their landlord.” As of November 2023, Wilson had more than 10 active files involving tenants from 500 Dawes, most of which centred around eviction notices and allegations of missed payments. As with Colvin’s case, the numbers never add up.

This story appears in the January 2024 issue of Toronto Life magazineTo subscribe for just $39.99 a year, click here. To purchase single issues, click here.