A bizarre dispute between a landlord and an unwanted tenant has developed in Cardston, Alta.
Robert Cox has been living in a makeshift shed on another man’s driveway for the last month. Prior to that, he was renting the home on the same property with his common-law partner who was paying the monthly rental bill. But when she moved out at the end of September, Cox refused to leave.
“I wasn’t quite ready at the time at the beginning of the month,” Cox said. “I kind of stood my ground and protested quite a bit and this is where we are today.”
Lease documents shown to Global News, show that only Cox’s ex-girlfriend’s name was on the lease.
Cox isn’t paying rent to live on the driveway, so landlord Ivan Negrych thought it was a no-brainer to evict Cox, but instead, Negrych learned he was the one who couldn’t be on the property.
“I can’t go on my own property without a written letter stating that I have to give him 24 hours written permission, or notice, to go on his property,” Negrych told Global News Monday night.
Negrych called Cardston RCMP twice to have his unwanted tenant removed from his driveway, but Negrych says he was the one asked to leave the property. According to police, that was about as much as they could do. Police told Global News officers won’t get involved in the situation because it’s a civil matter.
Negrych has since hired a lawyer and is taking Cox to court on Nov. 7.
Global News spoke to Negrych’s lawyer, police and several government officials about the issue and it appears that there is no law allowing Cox to live on the driveway, but only a judge can have him removed.
“As long as he was living in the house, he’s entitled to keep living there until he gets evicted by a judge,” Negrych said.
Cox is claiming provincial squatters’ rights, but those don’t apply in this case since he hasn’t been on the land for the minimum 10-year period.
“I think it’s bizarre,” Negrych said. “I think that the laws are in favour of the guys that are doing wrong.”
Negrych has a new tenant renting his home and hasn’t disconnected the power, so Cox has an extension cord plugged into the landlord’s home for electricity.
Cox says he plans on moving off the driveway one day, but can’t afford to at the moment. He says his mini makeshift home will go with him.
“I just have to stay focused on what I want and where I want to go,” Cox said. “Nobody is going to take that from me.”