NDG tenants wonder if they're the latest victims of renoviction
MONTREAL -- Tenants at an NDG apartment believe they might be victims of another so-called ‘renoviction,’ and have been ordered to leave their building for more than half a year.
They were informed their landlord has to do urgent repairs, but some feel the landlord is trying to get rid of the tenants to jack up the rent.
Victory Hegedus and her daughters have been living in the apartment on Chester Avenue for six years.
“We're very attached it's a community here. The kids go to school here, we know everybody in the building,” she said.
At less than $820 per month rent, she said it's by far the best she can afford in the area.
“$1,200 is the cheapest I can find,” she said, adding it’s “$1400-1500 for four and a halfs. No, I couldn't afford that.”
Two weeks ago, a bailiff dropped off a lawyer's letter from her landlord saying the building needs to be brought up to current standards, and therefore they have to leave by August. They won't be able to return for six to eight months.
Hegedus was offered $4,400 for compensation or $6,700 if the landlord can buy out her lease.
“We're in a pandemic, we're still under curfew and restrictions. How can we safely pack up and move in three months’ time?” she said.
The landlord refused an interview with CTV News, but the lawyer's letter sent to tenants reads: ‘the interior units will need to be completely dismantled and renovated in order to upgrade the current piping system which is severely damaged by rust and corrosion.’
It adds the building's structure requires intensive work due to water infiltration.
“Well there is some urgent work that needs to be done, but there's a question,” said Hegedus. “Does he really need to empty the building to do that, number one? Number two, does he really need six to eight months?”
Another tenant, Adil El Abbar, has three children including a two-week-old baby.
He pays $790 a month, and said with a shortage of affordable housing, he doesn't know where his family will go.
“I think the landlord's goal is to renovate the whole building so he can rent places out for more money,” he said.
Hans Brouillette of the Quebec Landlords' Corporation won't speak about this specific case, but said that because for so long, landlords have only been able to pass on a small amount of renovations to tenants, for years many didn't do enough maintenance.
When the jobs became too big, many chose to sell, said Brouillette.
“And the one who is going to buy it, probably a developer or an investor or a contractor with his workforce, may take very tough decisions for tenants,” he said.
It's become an even bigger problem as Montreal real estate prices soar and landlords could demand higher rents.
Housing advocacy group Project Genesis wants to see new rules to prevent landlords from kicking tenants out.
“Of course we want to see landlords being proactive with the work that needs to be done, but not at the cost of tenants losing their homes and losing affordable housing,” said Darby MacDonald or the housing group.
Hegedus and some other tenants said they plan to fight the order to leave at the rental board.