Dear Phyllis: My Home is Not for Sale

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina via Unsplash.

Dear Phyllis,

I walked out of my rental home this morning and noticed a big FOR SALE sign on the front lawn. My landlord says that nothing will change for us but I’m worried… I’ve lived here for two years and I don’t want to move now! Will the new landlord evict me? How can I make sure that I stay in my home?

– Not For Sale

Dear Not For Sale,

Ah, the ebbs and flows of rental housing… just when you think you have found the unit for you, there is bound to be some sort of switch up in the cosmic order. The good news about this change in ownership is that if you are lucky, nothing about your living situation will change. The bad news is that if you are unlucky, you might just have to move. That being said, you always have your rights!

My favourite legal document, the Residential Tenancies Act, (what, you don’t have a favourite legal document?) gives you a fair amount of protection in this situation. Your new landlord cannot increase your rent any more than the legal threshold, if they decide to renovate you have right of first refusal for the unit when the renovations are over, and they cannot evict you unless it is for themselves or an immediate family member to move in.

If this is the case, we have a few strategies to buy you some time. Informal word from your landlord that they have this intention is not an eviction notice. They will need to present you with notice on a form called Notice to End Your Tenancy Because the Landlord, a Purchaser, or a Family Member Requires the Rental Unit – Form N12. Along with this form they must either offer you another unit to move into or pay you one month’s rent. This form is not an eviction notice; the landlord must apply to the Landlord Tenant Board for that. This buys you time to try to come to an agreement with your landlord – for example, you can advocate for more money or more time to find a new place. If that doesn’t work the case may go to a hearing with the Landlord Tenant Board, in which case get in touch with us and we can help you to prepare.

In the meantime, while the house is on the market and prospective buyers are passing through, do your best to be the best tenant possible. Take out your garbage, keep the place tidy, don’t play any elaborate pranks involving convincing the new owners that the house is haunted. If the buyers see that the tenants are low-maintenance they will be more inclined to keep you around.

Best of luck, dear reader, and keep us updated on how it goes!

Looking for advice or support regarding a housing issue? Submit a question to our Dear Phyllis column, or contact us directly. The Peterborough Student Co-op is a Trent levy group that does housing advocacy and aims to establish a downtown student housing co-op in Peterborough. Contact us at, or come to our office hours, 10am-2pm, Tuesdays and Fridays at Sadleir House, Room 104.