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Dave Neatby said he plans on fighting his eviction order through to the end, no matter what.
Neatby and eight other residents who lived in the apartment building at 24 Water St. in Charlottetown received eviction notices on Feb. 19, along with documents stating the building owner intended on renovating and wanted them out by April 30.
Some of those residents appealed the eviction order to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission on Thursday, March 5. Since then, all of the residents have found a new place to live, except Neatby.
Neatby, who has been looking, said he found a two-bedroom place nearby for almost the same rent he’s currently paying. Problem is, he needs a roommate to share the cost.
“I think it could work but I can’t find a roommate right now, that’s the problem,’’ Neatby said. “With this (coronavirus pandemic) ongoing that’s difficult.’’
Neatby is now the only one fighting the eviction order. The commission was set to hear the appeal in early April but everything has been postponed due to the pandemic. The commission has stayed the eviction order pending Neatby’s appeal.
“I will not be evicted until I have a hearing.’’
Neatby doesn’t blame the other residents for dropping their appeals, explaining the building owner offered to help each of the tenants pay for moving expenses.
"I want to hold this company accountable for how they treated us."
The building owner is officially identified as a numbered company and as Pownal and Water Street Developments but Neatby said the building is managed by the Dunne Group.
“On my bank statement, it says Dunne Group when it comes out. It may be a numbered company that owns the building but it’s Dunne Properties and the Dunne Group that is managing it for them.’’
Neatby said the fact he hasn’t found a new place to live yet is one of the reasons why he plans on seeing this process through to the end. But it’s not the only reason. He said the Dunne Group acted in bad faith, claiming they wanted the residents out so they could renovate, obtain a permit from the city to build a new building next door, and jack the rent up without giving the residents the option of returning.
“I want to hold this company accountable for how they treated us.’’
In a statement emailed to The Guardian earlier this month, Jon Locke, the property manager, said the residents were never told the rent would go up or that they couldn't apply to return. However, in an email obtained by The Guardian, Locke tells one tenant the cost to renovate will be substantial, adding that "I'm sure the rent will be much higher (to be honest)''.
Locke said repairs in the building are necessary to ensure the building is in compliance with the National Building Code. He explained installing a new sprinkler system will require most of the building’s interior walls to be cut open and that all of the existing apartments will be impacted.
Locke also said the building is more than 100 years old, and they have discovered asbestos in the plaster walls, meaning it’s not safe for the residents to say.
Some of the residents of the building told The Guardian they weren’t informed about the asbestos until three months after it was discovered.
“I’m going to appeal this no matter what,’’ Neatby said when asked if he’ll drop it if he finds a new place to live.
“I hope that IRAC finds the Dunne Group acted in bad faith. I hope that’s a matter of public record.’’