Quebec solidaire tables bill to prevent more seniors from getting evicted

Eighty-three-year-old Constance Vaudrin isn’t sure what the future has in store for her.

Last February, she and roughly 200 tenants from the Résidence Mont-Carmel on René-Lévesque Boulevard East in downtown Montreal were notified that their assisted living apartments would be repurposed into a traditional apartment building, without the services to seniors.

"Obviously, I mean, there would be no services, there would be no room, no place to meet with the residents," said Vaudrin.

"It would be s simple apartment block. I can't get anywhere so I would move out."

But moving out is not an option for most. Montreal is facing a record-low occupancy rate. Housing units are rare and increasingly unaffordable for low-income families and seniors.

It's all perfectly legal for the new owners of the Résidence Mont-Carmel. But Québec solidaire (QS) introduced a bill at the National Assembly that would considerably improve protection for elderly tenants. If passed into law, seniors over 65 who have lived in the same apartment for more than five years could not be forced out.

"The housing crisis has gotten worse. So, we need to modernize that law, we need to protect seniors today,” said QS spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

The current law only protects seniors 70 and older, who have lived in the same unit for 10 years, said Françoise David, who co-founded Quebec-Solidaire and sponsored the original bill six years ago

"It's more and more difficult with everybody, but especially for seniors to be sure they will stay in their apartment,” David said.

But Varin and housing activists say tenant laws should be extended even further to prevent the conversion of seniors' homes into regular rental units.

Housing Minister Andrée Laforest could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

But with an election coming this fall, the legislative window to adopt this proposed law is narrowing.

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