Hartland tenants without power urged to file complaint

Legal experts say the Hartland tenants whose power was cut off a couple of weeks ago have had their rights violated and they should file a complaint with the provincial rentalsman.

Legal experts say the rights of Jason Crouse's tenants are being violated

Legal experts say the rights of several tenants in Hartland who are living without electricity are being violated.

Power to the two apartment buildings was shut off at the beginning of the month because the landlord, Jason Crouse, wasn't paying the bills.

Some apartment tenants in Hartland have been living without electricity for about three weeks.
​Crouse, who owns a local construction business, told CBC News some of his tenants weren't paying rent, so he wasn't able to pay the power bills.

He said he hopes to get the power back by November when he has more money. In the meantime, tenants have been asked to leave.

But real estate lawyer Jack Youssef says that's a violation under New Brunswick's Residential Tenancies Act.

"In this particular case, he needs to keep the power on," said Youssef.

"If a tenant doesn't pay me the rent, I can't cut the power," he said.

"I have to issue the notice of failure to pay rent on the 1st, it turns into a notice to quit if they haven't corrected it by the 7th, and they're out by the 21st and if they don't leave by that date, there are other certain things that are in place, like the department of the sheriff."

The provincial office of the rentalsman says any tenants living without power should file a complaint immediately.

Even if some of the tenants aren't paying rent, the landlord should not stop paying the electricity bill and kick them out, officials said.

Tenant Rebecca Haines says she loves living in Crouse's five-unit apartment building, which was once the home of former premier Richard Hatfield.

And while she says it isn't fair that her power was cut off right after she paid her rent, she has decided not to file a complaint.

She says she's found somewhere else to live and wants to forget the incident.

"Just survive and go to work, every day, that's all you can do, just get up and go to work every day and come home," said Haines.

NB Power has said the tenants should work with their landlord to come to an acceptable resolution. The utility won't turn the power on until the outstanding balance is paid.