For almost 20 years, Hennigar, 75, had run a group home out of her house on Melrose St. – so she wanted to spruce up her property before putting up the for-sale sign.
Just before Christmas, Hennigar said she hired a local handyman named James Clarke to do minor renovations. She had met Clarke though her daughter, Sandra Mathieu, who lives next door to Clarke’s father in Verdun.
Hennigar agreed to allow Clarke to live in her house during the renovations because he didn’t have a place of his own. Their verbal agreement stipulated that he would move out and find an apartment after he was paid for the renovation work, she says.
Mathieu said Clarke had done work for her in the past and her mother was trying to give him a break by allowing him to stay in her house.
“It seemed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement.”
After Mathieu paid Clarke $2,400, Hennigar called to thank him for a job well done. She asked him to leave the house by Jan. 31, adding that a real-estate agent would be showing the house to prospective buyers.
Hennigar says Clarke promised to leave. But three days later, she says, Clarke told her daughter he wasn’t leaving because he couldn’t find anywhere to live.
Almost three weeks later, Hennigar says Clarke is still squatting in her house – and she and her daughter don’t know how to get him out.
“He has stolen my house,” Hennigar said in a telephone interview from California, where she is staying with her son.
“The real-estate agent said he took people there but it was filthy dirty and smelling of smoke.”
Clarke refused to be interviewed when The Gazette turned up at the house Monday. He said the matter is between himself, Mathieu and the police.
“I don’t care what the public thinks; I don’t give a s---.”
Mathieu says she called police after Clarke refused to leave, but officers told her they couldn’t intervene because it’s a civil matter.
Montreal police told The Gazette Mathieu needs to take up the case with the Régie du logement.
But Mathieu says the rental board told her it can’t help because she and Clarke haven’t signed a lease.
She says she called Hydro-Québec to cut the power, but it refused because someone is living there.
Real-estate agent Jean-Philippe Loiselle told The Gazette “the house was a complete mess” when he brought people to see it at the end of January.
“There were beer bottles everywhere and it smelled of cigarette smoke.”
By going public with her story, Mathieu is hoping to shame Clarke into leaving.
“What is wrong with the system that he is allowed to stay there?” Mathieu asked.
“He seems to be protected at every turn.”
Jean-Pierre Leblanc of the Régie du logement wouldn’t comment specifically on Mathieu’s case, but said the rental board can intervene if someone is living illegally in someone else’s house without lease.
The homeowner must send a letter to the occupier giving him one month to vacate.
If the person doesn’t leave, the owner can seek from the rental board an “expulsion order to remove an illegal occupier.”
At that stage, Leblanc said, the squatter usually leaves before bailiffs intervene.
Whenever homeowners allow someone to live in their house, he suggested, they should sign a lease or a written agreement stating when the person is required to leave.
Cases of squatting are uncommon in Quebec, Leblanc said.
Usually they occur around July 1, when renters stay in their dwelling after their lease expires.
“It does happen, but it is rare.”
.......................... I would suggest a good old fashion rat exterminator company .......the guys who specialize in two legged rats.That's just my humble opinion,what a no good bum this guy is.Not only does this snake stay in the ladies home,but he disrespects it by making it a mess ......HV&RV