This N.S. landlord is out thousands from one tenant — and he's not alone
‘I've certainly learned ... how easy it is for criminals to take advantage of laws,' says landlord Jason Selby
Jason Selby never wanted to rent out his home in Cole Harbour, N.S., but the entrepreneur needed cash to help get his new café and gift shop off the ground.
When he met Nadav Even-Har and his family, he thought he had found the perfect tenants.
"They rolled up in a BMW and Audi. They presented a credit report with a high score. Their references checked out and they have two young children, so I thought that … it would be wonderful to be able to have the home used for a family," Selby said.
Even-Har signed a 12-month, fixed-term lease for the home at 11 Clermont Cr. with rent at $2,000 per month, beginning in May.
But Selby said he hasn't been paid since June 1.
The postdated rent cheques were written from closed bank accounts.
Selby said he's stuck in a legal morass that's has left him unable to access his home.
"I can't believe ... that's my reality. Like, I can't believe that I am paying for a home that I own and have owned for years and that I physically can't go into without permission," he said.
"I can't even begin to describe what it feels like to be rendered homeless from this situation."
Coffee shop dreams
Selby is in his early 30s and has owned the home for almost a decade.
The business graduate from Saint Mary's University spent several years working across Canada, selling inventory for gift shops, but eventually spotted an opportunity in Cole Harbour's commercial landscape.
"I can't be the only one that doesn't enjoy spending an hour to go to downtown Dartmouth to get a coffee ... so the idea of coffee and gifts I thought fit well together," Selby said.
His business, Selby's Bunker, is anything but bunker-like. It features big windows and high ceilings, with high-design café tables and chairs, and a wall of coffee-themed gifts.
But bringing the building up to commercial standards cost Selby over $100,000 more than his initial estimate.
Now he says he's carrying that debt, plus the mortgage on his home, with no rent to cover it off.
"Oh my gosh, stressed beyond belief ... I can't even begin to describe how it feels."
With Even-Har $8,000 behind in rent and the bounced cheques as proof, Selby obtained an eviction order on Sept. 3.
Even-Har immediately appealed to Nova Scotia's Residential Tenancies board and the eviction was stayed until a court hearing on Sept. 23.
Selby said Even-Har did not attend the hearing and the eviction notice was upheld.
But when Selby removed Even-Har's belongings from the home on Sept. 29, Even-Har called police.
"The police came, and they didn't accept my notice of vacant possession and they actually allowed him to ... enter the property through the basement window, and then they helped him move his things in," Selby said.
A spokesperson for Nova Scotia's Justice Department said Even-Har went back to the court before the decision by the Residential Tenancies board was reflected in the computer.
Another stay order was issued. The spokesperson said that was a mistake.
Once the court admitted the stay order was issued in error, Selby moved fast.
Sheriffs evicted Even-Har and his family on Tuesday morning, but by Wednesday, the family was back in the home.
Even-Har has appealed his eviction to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court and is now safe from eviction until the court date on Oct. 11.
Selby has written several Facebook posts about the ordeal.
"I invite you to share this widely so that other landlords can beware (sic) and protect themselves," he wrote on Sept. 29.
That's when Selby heard from Lori Sampson of Cole Harbour. She said she had rented her home at 60 Tamara Dr. to Even-Har in August 2018.
He also gave her rent cheques from a closed bank account, said Sampson.
"Then he would give story after story about trying to get this money wired to him from overseas, and his company had a lien on him, and so you never got any money out of him," Sampson said.
She said Even-Har was charged with fraud for activating a bank card he stole from her mail, then paying nearly $2,000 on his cellphone bill.
"Nadav had not paid me one cent to rent my home, and was a complete nightmare to deal with," Sampson wrote in a complaint letter she drafted at the request of the RCMP.
Court records show Nadav Joseph Even-Har has several convictions for both theft and fraud.
He's currently being sentenced for an assault charge.
Other landlords complain
CBC News contacted two other landlords with similar stories about Even-Har.
Jaro Schubert owns a café and Airbnb in Fall River, N.S. He said Even-Har owes him nearly $5,000 for rent and food dating back to this spring.
Schubert said Even-Har told him they had a flood in their home, and were having problems with the insurance company and contractors.
Another landlord, who asked not to be named, put the family up in his home for several months this year. He said he never saw the $350 monthly rent he was promised.
CBC News contacted Even-Har via email.
He declined to answer questions about his dealings with Selby, Sampson or Schubert.
"I can tell you this much that if anything sirs (sic) you and the station will be receiving a law suit (sic) immediately as Jason is," Even-Har wrote.
Selby said: "I've certainly learned a lot about our justice system, how little support there is for landlords who are in this situation and how easy it is for criminals to take advantage of laws and use them to cover themselves.
"I think it is so important that this has been put out there so that people can be aware and we can look out for each other."