Housing advocates in the Plateau are warning renters to read up on their rights after a group of tenants agreed to a landlord’s request to move out.

The homes in question were in three six-plexes on L’Esplanade. The landlord told the tenants that due to needed renovations, they would have to move out with little to no compensation.

“Someone who had access to a lawyer obtained $10,000,” said Amir Khadir, the Quebec Solidaire MNA for the neighbourhood. “Some others were offered only three months of compensation.”

Khadir said this incident is not isolated and that he has seen landlords use renovations as a way to get rid of tenants and then double or triple the rent for new occupants.

“That’s very common,” he said. “In some other situations, they find all other sorts of way to circumvent the law and transform them into condos.”

Gabrielle Renaud, a spokesperson for the Plateau’s housing committee said some tenants filed complaints with the rental board but signed agreements to move after being given compensation offers by the landlord.

“If you do that, the tenants don’t know their rights,” she said, adding that the lack of maintenance in the buildings over the years gave the tenants little choice but to leave.

“We think it’s immoral to do that for the tenants who are living there for 18, 25, even 45 years,” she said.

One such couple had been living in their apartment for more than four decades and said the only renovations done in the past 30 years were by them.

Khadir’s party is seeking to change the law in Quebec to oblige landlords to offer tenants an equivalent housing when renovations are required.

“Quebec Solidaire is now promoting a new bill, which is called Bill 492, in order to protect tenants that are seniors,” he said.