House condemned after loader strikes window following landlord-tenant dispute

·3 min read
A tarp was thrown over a window smashed by a front-end loader at this home on Allandale Road on March 3. The tenants say their landlord smashed it out after pushing their car aside with the loader. (Ryan Cooke/CBC - image credit)
A tarp was thrown over a window smashed by a front-end loader at this home on Allandale Road on March 3. The tenants say their landlord smashed it out after pushing their car aside with the loader. (Ryan Cooke/CBC - image credit)

Inspectors from the City of St. John's have deemed a house at the centre of a landlord-tenant dispute to be uninhabitable.

The home on Allandale Road was slapped with a notice last Friday letting the tenants know it was no longer fit to be living in.

That came two days after the landlord put the bucket of a front-end loader through a large window on the front of the home. He said it was an accident, while the tenants accused him of doing it to render the home uninhabitable and force them out.

Despite the designation, the tenants have not moved out and say they're still waiting for a hearing with the province's residential tenancies board to determine whether they should stay or leave.

"We're still here," said Joella Dyke when reached by CBC News earlier this week.

"This finishes when we go through the proper channels with the tenancy board and it goes through the proper legal channels like it's supposed to. And then they get to decide who is in the right or who is in the wrong from what evidence has been brought forth. Because right now our landlord is saying we didn't pay, we didn't do this, we didn't do that —when we did."

Cory Monk and Joella Dyke say they feel their landlord threatened them when he pushed forward with the loader.
Cory Monk and Joella Dyke say they feel their landlord threatened them when he pushed forward with the loader.(Ryan Cooke/CBC)

The landlord, Robert Regular, told CBC News his tenants have been served seven eviction notices for failure to pay rent on time. The tenants say each notice was rendered void when they paid their rent before the eviction date on the notice.

The last eviction notice was given in late October, with an eviction date for Nov. 2.

Bank statements provided to CBC News show the tenants paid $2,150 to Regular on Nov. 2. They say that renders the eviction notice void, but Regular says it wasn't enough to cover what they owed.

Complicating the situation is that there was no written lease agreement between the two parties, and different rent amounts were sometimes negotiated from month to month.

Regular was being fined by the city for failing to comply with orders to fix up the property. He says the tenants refused to allow him inside to fix things like household appliances or the leaking roof.

The tenants, however, say their landlord never intended to fix anything over their six-plus years living in the house.

Screenshots from a video taken by Monk show his landlord, Robert Regular, in the driver's seat of the loader and pushing Monk's car with the bucket.
Screenshots from a video taken by Monk show his landlord, Robert Regular, in the driver's seat of the loader and pushing Monk's car with the bucket.(Submitted by Cory Monk)

The back-and-forth between both sides reached a boiling point March 3 when Regular had a front-end loader show up at the house. He told the tenants he intended to clear snow from the side of the house so he could have workers set up scaffolding to fix the roof.

When the tenants refused to move their car, Regular ushered the driver aside and took over the loader's controls on the front-end loader.

He used it to push back the car, before reversing and striking the house.

The tenants say it was intentional, while Regular insists it was an accident.

While Dyke and Monk are intent on waiting for the tenancy board to decide who is in the right, the city may have another avenue if they feel the tenants should not be living in the house.

Under the rules set out in bylaws, the city can apply to the provincial court for a judicial order to remove people from properties that have been condemned.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, meanwhile, is still investigating the incident with the front-end loader. No charges have been laid.

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