Nova Scotia serial rent dodger promises to mend his ways
Nadav Even-Har, tenant at centre of Cole Harbour protest, says he's committed to changing his ways
According to eight Nova Scotia landlords, Nadav Even-Har owes them thousands of dollars in rent, but he says he's committed to mending his ways.
"All I can do from this moment on is start being a better person," said Even-Har, of Cole Harbour, N.S., in a phone interview with CBC News.
Even-Har's story was first reported by CBC when local entrepreneur Jason Selby posted on Facebook about his struggle to regain possession of his home in the Halifax area after collecting no rent since May.
Selby said all of Even-Har's rent cheques bounced because they were written from closed accounts. He said Even-Har now owes him more than $10,000 in rental arrears.
On Tuesday morning, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice gave Even-Har a deadline of midnight to vacate Selby's home. If he doesn't comply, he'll have to answer to the court first thing Wednesday morning.
Even-Har told CBC News he intends to follow through.
"I want to get my stuff out as soon as possible. The main thing is to get my family out of this situation," he said.
CBC News has now spoken to the eight landlords who said they've failed to collect rent or damage deposits from Even-Har between 2013 and last month.
Four of those tenancies ended with evictions after months of residential tenancy appeals.
D.J. Corning said he leased the Even-Har family a mini-home at 18 Vincent Lane in Pomquet Point outside Antigonish, N.S., in 2013.
"They were perfect. Both working professionals.… All I could think of was, 'Hey, I found some great people,'" Corning said.
But that impression didn't last.
"The cheques bounced. And we would call Nadav, and then the lies. 'Oh, so confusing. There's way more than that much money in my account. There must be some mistake,'" Corning said.
Even-Har would not comment on Corning's story or the particulars of any of his past rentals.
Court records show a Nadav Joseph Even-Har has several convictions for both theft and fraud.
After Selby's Facebook post and the subsequent story on CBC, there was a spontaneous protest in front of Even-Har's rental home on Oct. 4.
Selby said the demonstration, which lasted for a few hours, consisted of Cole Harbour residents, and he had never met many of them before.
A video posted on Facebook showed people shouting at Even-Har as he walked to his car with a suitcase and his dog.
"You're a horrible human being," someone shouted.
"You're dishonouring your family, dude," someone else said.
Even-Har said he was surprised by the vehement reaction.
"You would expect that if I murdered somebody, you know? Like I just I don't know ... how people think this is affecting their personal life."
Even-Har, his wife and four-year-old daughter were in the car and frightened.
"What did my four-year-old do to them?" he said.
Can't count evictions
However, Even-Har said the public anger over his tenancy history is understandable, and he doesn't know how many times he has been evicted in Nova Scotia.
"I don't know the exact number, but I know I've been evicted a lot," he said. "You know it's, it's, it's definitely a trend with me."
He draws a parallel between his past behaviour and the plight of people who get entangled with payday loans.
"You know how people take payday loans? And then on payday, they have to pay that payday loan? But then they're broke so they take a payday loan?" he said.
"It was me constantly trying to cover one consequence after another and me, basically, wasn't able to manage anything."
Commitment to change
Even-Har said he was born in Israel and moved to Toronto when he was 10 years old.
He said he met his Nova Scotian wife in Western Canada, and they moved here because of that connection.
Even-Har said his greatest regret is the pain he has caused her.
"I wish that my impact on her home community or hometown wasn't this negative.… It just seems like things are getting ruined for her as well, and you know that hurts me the most."
Even-Har said he hopes to eventually pay back some of the rent he owes to former landlords who had him evicted.
For the moment, he's pursuing a new agenda.
"Try to do nice things. Try to maybe do things for the community and with time, maybe, show that … I'm trying to make up for it."
'It's emotionally draining'
At a court hearing Friday morning, Evan-Har volunteered to leave the home by 9 a.m. Monday.
But on Monday afternoon, Even-Har's belongings were still in Selby's living room.
At the Supreme Court hearing earlier today, Even-Har testified how he missed a previous hearing at Small Claims court because his wife was having problems with an insulin pump.
The judge asked Even-Har for a detailed timeline of when he attended Dartmouth General Hospital that day, and at what time his wife was admitted.
During the hearing, Even-Har claimed that Selby owed him money for renovations he did on the home during his tenancy, and for the cost of removing garbage from the property.
He also said his children's beds were damaged during a previous eviction attempt.
"I'll deal with things in court with Jason," Even-Har told CBC News after the hearing was done.
Selby denies he approved any renovations, or damaged any of Even-Har's belongings.
He also said he has receipts for all garbage removal from the property.
Selby said he's ready for his rental ordeal to end.
"I'm exhausted, and I just can't wait for this to be over. It's emotionally draining, and I just can't believe that this is reality — that this has gone on for this long, and I've been essentially homeless " he said.