A lawyer representing a Halifax man whose home was destroyed on Friday after his landlord began demolishing the building says she is considering any legal means to respond.
“Evicting someone by demolition is something you don’t see often,” said Tammy Wohler, a Nova Scotia legal aid attorney in Halifax. “It’s very worrying and there needs to be some accountability for it.”
The man who asked that we only use his first name, Andrew, is challenging his eviction, which was originally scheduled for November. A hearing of the lease with its owner Ardmore Hall Ltd. is scheduled for December 16. planned. A demolition team was called in on Friday when he came out of his home on Oxford Street and North Street. An excavator tore through his apartment and the one above.
TWO DAYS AFTER THE FLOOD
The move came two days after his home was flooded after a man who identified himself as a plumber appeared at his door. Ardmore Hall issued an email statement that day denying that the flooding was intentional and that repairs were required to the hot water pipes in Andrew’s apartment.
Andrew, who was in Dartmouth at the time of the demolition, declined to comment on the situation on Friday because he said he was too exhausted from the ordeal.
Mosaik Properties, the parent company of Ardmore Hall, plans to replace the three-story Halifax apartment with a seven-story building with 130 units. As early as August, the company issued letters instead of the official form to evict all tenants by December 1st. In preparation for the demolition, a metal fence was placed around the perimeter of the property on Tuesday.
The Halifax regional compliance officers were on site around noon on Friday. The municipality was able to obtain a break in work for the demolition through the provincial Ministry of Labor. The order has no expiration date. The demolition took about two hours after the officers showed up.
Wohler said the contractor simply decided it would be easier to forego legal process and move on to demolishing the building.
“Andrew asserted his right and as a result, and frankly, he lost everything,” Wohler said.
Andrew told the Chronicle Herald this week that he is questioning his eviction because he believes no one should lose their home in a pandemic. But he also has legitimate legal reasons to contest his eviction, as he has never received notice of termination, only several letters asking him to move out by the end of November. Landlords must also receive an eviction order from the housing rental authority if a tenant contests the termination.
Andrew received notice of resignation Thursday, the same day that Wohler agreed to represent him at his hearing later this month.
“The tenant has the right to live there and it looks like the landlord has taken matters into their own hands and ignored the fact that there is a very simple procedure to request an eviction if warranted is. “
Wohler calls on the city to take action against the developer.
Mayor very concerned
Mayor Mike Savage said he was very concerned about the incident. He couldn’t explain why a demolition permit would be given while the company wasn’t following the right channels to evacuate tenants.
“In my view, nothing should have been done until the residential rental process was complete,” said Savage.
“We didn’t want this to happen and we issued a stop-work order,” said Savage.
He said HRM is looking into what legal action the community can take against the developer.
Wohler hopes the community will ultimately deliver a strong message to the developer.
“(HRM) must ensure that an act by a landlord that violates the Apartment Rental Act is not inadvertently condoned,” she said. “If the city allowed a landlord to demolish an apartment while realizing that a tenant is in the apartment and has a legal right to live in the apartment, but there is no order to allow the tenancy quit, that would be problematic. ”
The Herald reached out to Mosaik Properties on Friday for comment but received no response.