© Star file photo
Paul Greene is considering legal action against former landlord.
One of the tenants who had to vacate 27 Humber Road last month when it was deemed unfit to live in is considering taking legal action against the property owner.
Paul Greene has since found another place to stay but is not happy with how his former landlord, Janet Ma, has been handling the displacement of the eight residential tenants and one business.
All of the people living in the building, plus Pho Vietnam restaurant, were given just two hours notice that the electrical service was being cut off Feb. 7.
Greene said he and other tenants had paid their rent for the month of February, but some were asked to give back the keys to their dwellings.
Greene kept his key, but when he went back to collect his personal belongings, he said they had been tampered with.
According to Greene, the mattress from his bed and an antique couch had been dragged outside and were ruined from exposure to the elements. Clothes had been placed in bags that had refuse mixed in with them.
“I had some 93-year-old plates that my grandmother had given to me,” Greene told The Western Star. “Those were all in a bag and broken. They may not have been worth a lot of money, but they had a lot of sentimental value to me. That’s a little bit of family history I can’t get back.”
He has no idea what happened to his computer, desk, fishing rod and a brand new set of tires he had left in the apartment until he had somewhere to move them.
He has spoken with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, but doesn’t think anything will happen from that angle. He has also spoken with officials at the Landlords and Tenants office of Service NL to seek advice.
If things cannot be worked out between him and Ma through that office, Greene has the paperwork to fill out and file with small claims court.
All told, he estimated he is owed around $900, including about $325 in rent for February and the rest being the value of the items he said are damaged or missing.
“I have taken inventory of everything, including pictures I have of my stuff, and I will be filing for a hearing to get my rent back and filing to get the other stuff back too,” said Greene.
The Western Star has not been able to reach Ma for comment since a provincial electrical inspector ordered power cut off to the building a month ago.
Service NL, which would not confirm if it is still assisting some of the displaced tenants, did not provide anyone for an interview for this story. A department spokesperson said in an email that anyone with a dispute over rent money or property should contact the Landlords and Tenants office in Corner Brook.
“In a situation where a tenant cannot live in a property through no fault of their own and are looking for repayment of rent, then they can make an application to Residential Tenancies to recover any reasonable costs,” read the email. “The reasonable costs will be determined by either an officer through mediation or by an adjudicator at a hearing. But the tenants will have to prove that it was the landlord’s fault that the premises became uninhabitable.”