A dozen mile-end tenants, who face eviction threats after selling their buildings, some of which they have occupied for nearly 30 years, fear they will never find affordable housing in Montreal.
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“Where will we be able to go and live? We have families in the building who have been there with children for years. We will force them to change schools, to lose their bearings, to lose their friends,” says Jodie Prévost, a 34-year-old tenant who received an eviction notice from her apartment on rue Jeanne-Mance in the Plateau-Mont-Royal district .
Between December 22 and December 28, she and her neighbors received all or nearly all eviction notices for “significant expansions.” Two tenants received take-back notices, so the owner is staying there or his family members are staying there.
“Barely a month after they bought the buildings, we received notices from a bailiff. We suspected it would happen, but we didn’t think it would happen so quickly,” breathes Shantal Allard, a 65-year-old resident.
“I had cancer, I have chronic pain and now I live with the fear of losing my home and neighborhood where I’ve lived for 28 years,” she adds.
For all residents, the announcement came as a devastating blow to the holidays. For most of them, moving into the neighborhood is hardly possible.
“We know that if we have to leave, we can never stay in the neighborhood, prices have gone up too much,” says Ms Allard.
The latter pays $535 for their 5 1/2. For her part, his sister Suzanne Allard pays $662 for 4 1/2. Jodie Prévost pays $740 for the 4 1/2 she lived in for four years.
In the neighborhood, the 5 1/2 can’t be found under $1800. The same goes for the 4 1/2, which is now over $1,400.
“It destroys lives, it destroys neighborhoods. It’s a disaster,” adds Ms Allard, who plans to leave Montreal as she has little hope of finding similar accommodation at a lower cost.
Since then, the tenant group has been trying to unravel the law and decides to stick together and fight to save their roof.
On Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, a regulation introduced in September 2020 specifically prohibits the subdivision or extension of dwellings. However, exceptions are foreseen.
“There are loopholes in the laws and regulations that make them [les propriétaires] In the end, they always find an exception that allows them to achieve their goals,” says Shantal Allard.
For them, the various governments have to set much stricter rules.
“I don’t know how they imagine the future in Montreal because it’s not viable! We’re hitting a wall, at the moment only the rich can live there,” laments Jodie Prévost.
lack of options
These practices are having a significant impact on Montreal housing, which is becoming less and less affordable, but also on households that are being evicted.
“People were stressed out by the housing crisis and worried about not being able to move to the Plateau. Now people are even wondering if they can move to Montreal or the surrounding area because housing is unaffordable,” laments Vicky Langevin, community organizer with the Plateau-Mont-Royal Housing Committee.
It also highlights the glaring lack of options for those paying very low rents, adds Catherine Lussier of the Popular Action Front in Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU).
“These are people who should often find themselves in social housing, but who don’t necessarily find it in time because of the long waiting lists and the fact that the projects don’t spring up,” he says. – you.
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