Eviction day arrives for tenants living in unsanitary buildings
Published Thursday, February 22, 2018 1:59PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 22, 2018 7:13PM EST
Tenants of two buildings in Point Saint Charles have left their homes, even if they have nowhere else to go.
The city of Montreal ordered their eviction because inspectors have deemed the building unsafe.
As the 16 tenants left the buildings by noon Thursday, the Red Cross promised to house them for several days.
Laurie-Ann Grose is one of those tenants who has yet to find a new home.
She never looked for a new apartment because she believed the landlord when he told tenants that the city's concerns were exaggerated.
"He told me that, ‘Don't worry, everybody's not going to be moving, everybody's going to be staying, this and that, we're going to make sure, we're going to fight the city’ so I kind of believed him," said Grose.
"And that's it. I have no place to go. It's the last day to be out and I have no place to go."
Adding to the problem is that it’s the middle of February.
“How do you do that to people? What kind of a city are we living in? It's not a third world country. We're Montreal. How can the city treat people like that?” said tenant Glen Fox.
Mayor Valerie Plante said it came down to a safety issue.
“As the mairesse of Montreal, I cannot let the situation go on. We know it wouldn't be secure to let people live in this place,” she said.
Many of tenants had been living in the building for years and paid less than $600 per month in rent. They are concerned they will never find anywhere else to rent with similar rates.
Last month, inspectors found structural problems, electrical issues, water infiltration, vermin and problems with the fire escape.
The landlord sought an injunction Wednesday to stop the eviction, saying he needed 30 to 60 days to complete more repairs, but a judge refused, saying the tenants and the owner had been given adequate notice.
Tenants have a separate case heading to the Rental Board arguing for financial compensation, but that hearing will likely not happen for several weeks, if not months.
The city’s housing department is looking for a new place to live for the tenants.
“Three weeks’ notice to vacate in the middle of winter? It's been known for seven years there are major problems with the building. It makes no sense. I'm sure there's another way,” said lawyer for the tenants, Stephane Proulx.
The buildings are now locked and the landlord is unable to rent the apartments until they are repaired.