What do I do if my landlord gives me an N12 eviction notice?

When your landlord issues you an N12 eviction notice to move out so they can move in, the form can be difficult to understand. 

Here’s what you need to know.

Your landlord can never just “kick you out.” They must give you an eviction notice. The eviction notice is the first step in the legal process to get you to move out.

What is an N12 Notice to End your Tenancy?

An N12 notice is one kind of eviction notice where the landlord tells you they want you to move out. It’s important to know that getting an N12 does not mean you must move out. If you disagree, the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) will decide what happens.

Landlords use an N12 notice when:

  • they or a member of their family want to move in
  • they’ve sold the property, and the buyer wants to move in
  • they need to use the unit for caregiver services (a non-family member will move in to provide care services to the landlord or a family member of the landlord)

Landlords often lie on an N12 about why they want you to move out. Some landlords may not be lying but may use the excuse they are moving in or moving a relative in to kick you out.

Why would landlords lie?

Sometimes, landlords lie to make more money by renting the unit to someone new. If you have rented your place for a long time, your landlord can only raise your rent once a year by a small amount, especially if the property was occupied for the first time before November 15, 2018. (Ontario has no rent control for occupancies after this date.) If your landlord can get you out and a new tenant in, they can raise the rent a lot and make more money. An N12 notice can be an easy way for them to evict you, even if you haven’t done anything wrong.

What should I do if I get an N12?

First, speak to a lawyer or paralegal, or contact a legal clinic. An N12 is only the first step in a process that could end with you having to move out. 

Only a lawyer or paralegal can give you legal advice, and it must be a lawyer or paralegal who works for you, not your landlord. Your landlord and/or their property manager cannot give you legal advice. You need your own advice to protect your rights.

If you can’t get legal help right away, here are some things you should do:

  • Once you receive an N12 form, you don’t have to respond or acknowledge receipt of it. You don’t have to agree to move out. You don’t have to tell the landlord what your plans are.
  • Read the N12 carefully, especially the second page. The second page has important details often overlooked that could prevent you from having to move out. 
  • Make sure to save a copy of the N12. Take a photo on your phone, put the N12 in a safe place, and scan or photocopy it as a backup.
  • Make a note of when you got the N12 application and how you got it. Did your landlord call you or text you to tell you? This information is important to document because sometimes the delivery won’t meet the LTB rules. You can raise this as a technical argument at the hearing and sometimes have the application thrown out. 

Remember that getting a notice from your landlord does not automatically mean you will be evicted. The N12 is a “legal notice” and the first step of a legal process, but it doesn’t mean you have to move out. You have plenty of time to get legal advice and answer the notice.

You will want to ensure the landlord filled out the N12 correctly because the LTB could dismiss your landlord’s claim if it wasn't. Look for things like:

  • The “termination date” must be the last day before rent is due (if your rent is due on the first of the month, the termination date must be the last day of the month. A September 30 or October 31 termination date would be valid, but not September 29 or October 30.
  • The termination date must also be at least 60 days from when the N12 was given to you (using the above example, you must get an N12 for September 30 by August 1 and one for October 31 by September 1).
  • The form must be signed by the landlord or their agent.

This N12 Eviction Notice Checklist from Steps to Justice can help you identify what to look for on the form.

What does the landlord have to give you?

When a landlord gives you an N12, they must pay you one month’s rent. They must pay this by the termination date listed on the N12. If you take the payment, you do not have to move out. Your lawyer or paralegal can tell you if the landlord has paid you properly.

If it turns out that your landlord can’t evict you, you might have to return the payment.

What is an N13 Form?

The N13 form is another kind of eviction notice. Landlords can use it if they want to tear down your building, repair it, or use it for another purpose. But just like the N12, landlords sometimes use the N13 to push tenants out without a real reason. N13s are more complicated than N12s. If you get one, talk to a lawyer or paralegal.

I was evicted in bad faith. What can I do about it?

If you’re evicted through an N12 or N13 but find out the eviction was done in bad faith, you can sue your landlord. The application to do this is called a T5 application. It’s important to get legal help if you are in this situation. Most T5 applications can only be filed within one year of being evicted.

As a renter, you have legal rights that your landlord must respect. The Advocacy Center for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) has more information for renters. You can also sign up for free legal advice from ACTO’s Tenant Duty Counsel Program if you have a hearing coming up at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

The information in this article is not legal advice. You should get advice from a lawyer or paralegal before you take any action.

Presented by: Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO)

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Last updated: September 28, 2023 4006583