Nipawin man allegedly assaults landlord due to anger over COVID-19 restrictions

A man who allegedly assaulted his landlord for putting COVID-19 restrictions in place was evicted from his home.

Office of Residential Tenancies says tenant’s actions led to eviction

A resident at a housing facility in Nipawin was evicted on May 20, after allegedly assaulting his landlord over restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

A Nipawin, Sask., man who allegedly assaulted his landlord for putting COVID-19 restrictions in place was evicted from his home.

A decision published by the Office of Residential Tenancies of Saskatchewan earlier this month said the landlord was assaulted on May 5 after putting restrictions in place at social housing units in Nipawin, which is about 225 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

The decision says that on March 20, the landlord overseeing a seniors complex notified residents that common areas and shared kitchens were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two days later the tenant set up chairs and tables in four common areas and was verbally warned by the landlord, the decision says.

On April 2, the landlord issued another notice to residents, stating common areas would remain closed. The tenant once again set up chairs and tables in two of the four closed common areas later that evening, the decisions says.

Court documents say the man admitted to setting up tables and chairs in the common areas.

A letter sent to the tenant and submitted as evidence warned him that his actions were perceived as "endangering" other tenants.

"Some tenants struggle cognitively and if they see chairs out, they will assume that it is okay to gather and visit in the common area. It is not," the letter said.

"We are considering evicting you on the grounds that you have endangered the health and wellbeing of other tenants." 

Parking lot confrontation

On May 5, the landlord testified he saw the tenant urinating behind the landlord's vehicle in the parking lot of the housing authority's office, about a block away from the housing units.

When confronted, the tenant allegedly assaulted the landlord by hitting him in the arm. The landlord testified he then fled to a nearby post office.

The tenant testified he was pushed by the landlord first. The landlord denied the tenant's claims.

The Office of Residential Tenancies decision said assault charges have been filed against the tenant, but have not yet been heard in court. 

The tenant testified that he was not urinating behind the landlord's car. He said he was having a smoke when the landlord approached and pushed him.

"In his testimony the tenant acknowledged that he disregarded the rules regarding the common areas," the decision said. 

"The tenant testified that the rules set in place are so strict that they may be causing more damage than what the virus would do."

Emails submitted by the landlord as evidence showed the tenant "bragged" about attacking the landlord and that he had done so because "he's tired of being told what to do."

'Quick to anger'

The court documents say the landlord still feared for his safety, because the tenant is "quick to anger."

"[The landlord] has not visited the senior's complex since. He used to go to the complex around three times a week as part of his duties," the documents say.

The documents say that the housing authority started sending two staff to the complex at a time due to concerns about the man's behaviour

Those steps, showed there were serious concerns about the safety and wellbeing of residents and staff, the documents say. 

Both the confrontation in the parking lot and the tenant's disregard for COVID-19 rules led the Office of Residential Tenancies to return possession of the tenant's property to the Nipawin Housing Authority as of May 20, 2020, the documents say. 

A request for comment from the lawyer representing the tenant was not returned by deadline.