Tenants and supporters take to the streets after apparent 'renovictions'
MONTREAL -- A group of tenants in Montreal's Plateau was out on the streets Friday fighting for their rights and against renovictions after letters they received from their landlords.
"I really don't know what I'm going to do if I have to leave here," said Ginette Giguere, one of those who was told she had to leave her apartment. "I don't where to go. It's like I'm going to be lost."
Three weeks ago, tenants of a Plateau-area highrise received a notice from the building's owners telling them they had to leave because of impending major renovations.
They were given three months notice and compensation was offered.
The tenants, however, are refusing, and are ready for a court battle.
"We understand that the building needs renovations we are agreed on that. We can pay a little bit more," said tenant Nadine Freville.
In a statement, one of the building's owners said, "there is no eviction," and that "this is a temporary situation. Tenants will be able to return to their homes as soon as the emergency repairs are complete."
Some of the tenants, however, have their doubts.
"The rent will increase a lot after this renoviction," said Laurier-Dorion Quebec Solidaire MNA Andres Fontecilla.
Tenants' rights activist Arnold Bennett said the case is one of an evacuation for renoviction. Tenants are allowed to return, and rent can only be increased based on a specific calculation from the rental board.
"It wouldn't be as much as the landlord would want," said Bennett. "The landlord might be trying to get a $500 increase and they wouldn't get anywhere near that."
Often, Bennett said, tenants never come back.
In the current case, the building's owners have opened files against the tenants at the rental board, but Bennett said given the number of people involved, their files likely won't be resolved anytime soon.
"They're very visible and they have political support and they might fight the landlord to a standstill. It's happened," he said.
With political support, Bennett is hopeful it will be enough to keep them from leaving their homes.