“He told me he was going to come in some night and beat me up …"
Carroll moved off the streets and into his Triumph St apartment in June of 2014. A pensioner, he was peaceably living a tranquil life in new home – “a wild night here is Netflix and Xbox!” – until November 2016.
That’s when the harassment started.
“One day I went down to check the mail, and [the maintenance guy] was working in the lobby. He started screaming at me that he was going to ram my head through the wall… That’s what I was putting up with all the time. I mean continually, two or three times a week.”
“He told me he was going to come in some night and beat me up … All of August and September last year, on nights when my roommate had to work, I would try to get somebody to stay over with me – ‘cause I was afraid to go to sleep. I still can’t get to sleep before 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning, I’m up all night long.”
Also last July, Carroll received the first of three eviction notices, on what seemed to be completely spurious grounds. After filing to appeal the decision, he came to his hearing prepared to defend himself – only to have the landlord withdraw the notice without producing any evidence. (The same happened with Notice #2. #3 is currently under appeal)
In the meantime, the water was shut off in his bathroom. Carroll and his roommate spent three months having sponge-baths in the kitchen sink, before winning the right, at their second eviction hearing, to use the bathroom of another apartment down the hall.
Refusing to be intimidated out of his own home, Carroll is taking his case to the RTB to apply for thousands of dollars of financial damages in the form of rent reduction. “My thought is, if I win this case – like with the buzzer system, and the bullying [both building-wide problems] – then that will mean everyone in the building is entitled to that.
“You don’t have to put up with bullshit. And I know that’s part of the whole problem: why more complaints aren’t filed, is that it is a process and it does take time. I mean I’m retired, and so I’ve got all the time in the world to spend on this … I’ve got 135 pages of documents for this hearing.”
Before retiring, Carroll worked as a chef, a florist, a pastor, and an employment counsellor: in his words, he’s “fed people, made them happy on whatever the occasion, taken care of their spiritual needs, and their physical needs - getting them a job! And now I’m going to fight for housing.”
Carroll continues to seek justice at the RTB level and he hopes to help other tenants do the same. As he says - “this process does take some time but for an ordinary citizen like me it means I can fight for my rights and the arbitrator will listen”.