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Neighbours helping landlord who struggled with alleged ‘professional squatter’

HALIFAX — Residents of a Halifax suburb are raising money to help a local coffee shop owner who struggled to evict a tenant accused of dodging payments at a number of homes in Nova Scotia.

Jason Selby says he’s received widespread community support since sharing his story, with more than a dozen people helping him clean his home and repair damaged walls and baseboards.

The 31-year-old entrepreneur has said Nadav Even-Har occupied a home Selby was renting out to help with start-up costs for a business he’s started.

Several landlords have described how Even-Har and his family repeatedly occupied properties without paying rent, then manipulated the legal system to delay evictions and remain in their buildings.

Colin MacEachern, a Cole Harbour resident and schoolteacher, said after he saw a series of news reports about Selby’s difficulties, he wanted to offer his help.

The 50-year-old has organized a gathering Sunday evening, including live music and an auction, to help raise money and lift Selby’s spirits.

“I hope it helps (Selby) go forward in life without having too much damage done to his financial situation. I also want to bring the community together to do good work,” said MacEachern.

Selby has said there are egg and urine stains in parts of his house, and repainting will be needed along with repairs to cupboards, a screen door, floors and a table.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the community,” he said.

Selby said he struggled to pay his personal bills and had to appear in court numerous times over four months before he could regain possession of his home.

The landlord is advocating for the province to reform its tenancy laws and regulations to prevent tenants from dragging out court appeals in order to stay in apartments after not paying rent.

Patricia Arab, the minister responsible for Service Nova Scotia, has said she is reviewing regulations to see how to avoid similar situations in the future.

The Canadian Press reached out to Even-Har via email but did not receive a response.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2019.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

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