Council votes to evict tenant
Decision reached to follow Landlord-Tenant Act
for South Peace News
High Prairie town council had a lengthy discussion regarding enforcing its contract with the tenant currently in the doctor's house versus adhering to the rules and regulations of the Landlord/Tenant Act during its July 11 regular meeting.
The issue? Should they force tenant Barry Sharkawi to abide by the contract he signed when he moved into the house, which would mean he would have to move out of the house at the end of the lease, which ends July 19. Or should they apply the Landlord/Tenant Act, which would force them to give Sharkawi three month’s notice to move out.
Since a motion had already been passed to sell the house, some councillors felt they should have Sharkawi abide by the terms of his lease and vacate the house in order to have the house available for a new doctor, scheduled to arrive soon after Aug. 1.
Others felt they should just give Sharkawi three months notice, thus avoiding the issue of allowing another tenant in the house.
“Do we have an agreement in place that the tenant will move out if we have a physician move in or if we sell the house?” asked Councillor Michael Smith.
“If a physician moves in, yes there is an agreement in the contract,” said CAO Keli Tamaklo. “But there is nothing in the contract about selling the house.”
“Perhaps the tenant will show us some good faith and a good heart and move out on his own,” remarked Councillor Crystal Sekulich.
Councillor Wayne Forrester commented that unless they move the new physician into the house, they have to abide by the Landlord/Tenant Act, which requires 180 days notice. Consequently, since the lease expires on July 19, notice to vacate would have to be given and would be effective Oct. 19.
“But he would have to be out on July 19 if we have a physician moving in,” said Councillor James Waikle, who had earlier voted against the sale of the house.
Forrester added that the tenant was well aware that his lease expired on July 19 and that he would have to move out at that point.
Smith wondered if the contract signed by the tenant superseded the Landlord/Tenant Act.
At that point, Mayor Rick Dumont turned to Sandra Dohei, a training coordinator from Municipal Affairs, to seek advice. She reminded council if the contract allowed for a month to month lease after the expiry of the original lease, then the town would have to give the tenant 30 days notice.
“There is a proviso in there that he has to vacate if you move in a physician,” she added.
Tamaklo suggested they stick with the contract, have the tenant move out and then allow the physician to move in.
Smith said if that occurred, he did not want to see the house rented out after the doctor moved out.
Sekulich added the town can always put conditions on the sale of the house. Smith suggested one of the conditions be a 180-day waiting period prior to occupancy.
Ultimately a motion was carried to give the current tenant three months notice to vacate the property. Waikle voted against the motion.
Councillor Barry Sharkawi had excused himself before the discussion as he is the current tenant in the house and it would have been a conflict of interest for him to take part in the discussion.