Landlord ordered to compensate tenants over unfit living conditions
Published Wednesday, August 8, 2012 10:33PM EDT
The Quebec rental board has ordered a notorious landlord to pay damages to some of his former tenants.
Five former tenants of Claudio Di Giambattista’s apartment buildings in Park Extension will be awarded after complaining of unlivable conditions, including rodents, mould and a lack of hot water and heat.
In April, the city of Montreal ordered that the building be evacuated after it agreed that the conditions in apartments at 785 Ball Ave. and 7911 Outremont Ave. were uninhabitable. Inspectors for the borough of Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension found over 250 cases of non-compliance with laws, and rendered the building unfit for habitation.
The Regie du logement is ordering Di Giambattista to pay the tenants a minimum of $34,000.
Tenants’ rights activist Andre Trepanier of the Park Extension Committee said this is a small victory, because groups have been after the landlord for decades.
“He is the kind of owner that wants to collect the rent but not do the repairs. It is a market for discrimination because a lot of people have difficulty to rent an apartment in Montreal because they have kids or they are immigrants they don't know their rights and owners like Di Giambattista take advantage,” he said.
When asked Wednesday if he would compensate his tenants, Di Giambattista was defiant.
“They have to pay the rent! They have not given me one note! It's only the media,” he said. “Who is the rental board?”
Di Giambattista has 30 days to appeal the decision. Should he refuse to pay after that point, bailiffs will seize some of his assets.