Residents of a 90-unit Montreal apartment building told it's time to move for 'urgent repairs'

Some tenants living in Montreal's Plateau borough may have to find a new place to live come July after receiving a letter to vacate the building in three months.

It's a 90-unit apartment building dating back to Expo '67, and many of its tenants have been living there for a long time.

"When I saw the paper when I went to bed I start crying I was looking at my apartment it’s like they were taking my life away," said Ginette Giguere, who received on of the eviction letters that advised her she would need to leave by June 30 as major repairs are needed.

The building's landlords are offering three months rent in compensation.

"I didn’t sleep that night because moving at that time of the pandemic it’s not the right time," said tenant Renee Thifault, who is among those that will now need to find a new place to live on short notice.

"We don’t have enough time to find a place I’ve been here 14 years this is my life here," said Joseph Wasserman.

In a statement, one of the building's owners Brandon Shiller said they are committed to the health and well-being of the tenants and that "we understand that this is a difficult situation."

"We do not take safety and security issues lightly," the statement from Hillpark Capital said.

Shiller went on to explain that the building was bought two years ago and in need of urgent repairs and renovations.

He also said "there is no eviction and that this is a temporary situation."

He said tenants will be able to return as soon as the emergency repairs are complete.

Tenants rights advocate Arnold Bennett does not see it as a temporary situation.

"This is an evacuation," he said. "They call them renovictions because in practice a lot of people don’t come back, but by law they’re not evictions they're temporary evacuations."

Bennett said tenants have the right to refuse to leave in which the landlord has to go to the rental board.

Some tenants feel they won't be allowed to return.

"How can we be sure he’s going to take us back?" said Giguere.

Tenants are meeting with their local housing committee on Monday to do whatever they can to stay put.  

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