CARDSTON, Alta. - A southern Alberta landlord is hoping the courts will help him with a squatter living in a small shack sitting on a trailer in the driveway of the man's rental property.
"What can you do? Our hands are tied and nobody's prepared to help," said Ivan Negrych, who is attempting to remove Bob Cox from the property in the town of Cardston, about 235 kilometres southeast of Calgary.
"It's kind of turning into a nightmare."
Negrych said he had been renting the five-bedroom home to Cox's former common-law wife. The woman and two daughters allowed him to move in after he was injured in a car accident about 18 months ago. She moved out Sept. 30 and Negrych rented out the property to another person within days.
"He moved in and now he's refusing to move out," said Negrych.
He said Cox, who wasn't reachable by phone, is perfectly happy living in the small wooden, windowless shack still parked in the driveway.
"It's roughly 12 feet by 8 (feet) and it's on a little channel-frame trailer with little wheels on it. It has no brakes. No electricity. He's pulling electricity from the house from an extension cord."
Cox says he has squatter's rights. He told CTV News he hopes to move soon, but isn't ready to do so yet.
“I don’t want to be in Ivan’s way,” he told CTV.
The problem, said Negrych, is Alberta's Residential Tenancies Act.
"Once (tenants are) in, you can't get them out. It takes several months, because the process is so long ... to get a judgment and eviction court order," Negrych said.
He's working on getting that order now, he added.
Negrych said he asked the RCMP for assistance but was told it's a civil matter.
"They can't touch him and, in fact, the police asked me to leave the property because I was trespassing and hadn't given him a 24-hour written notice, which is part of the ... act."
A court date has been set for Nov. 7.
Negrych said he has given Cox an eviction notice and watched him roll it up and throw it in the garbage. Even if the judge does grant a removal order, it could be between four weeks and four months before Cox can be legally removed, he said.
— By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter