Tenants of Cartierville building that caught fire allege wrongful eviction

Brian Payne Jr., Abdul Rehman and his family have been staying at a hotel since April 7.

Their apartment building in Cartierville caught fire, completely destroying the electrical system, but they say a majority of the 40 units were left untouched, including both of their apartments.

“We were taken by the Red Cross to a hotel and that’s where we’ve been since,” Payne Jr. told CTV News. “[We’ll be] staying until June 1, and after we’re on our own.”

They won’t be able to move back in until September, according to a letter sent to tenants.

Instead, they’ll be reimbursed for the last three weeks of rent in April.

They’ve received an offer to formally terminate their lease, and if they comply, they’ll be compensated for one month’s rent and have up to $250 in moving expenses paid.

“I’m very angry,” said Payne Jr. “I would figure that either the landlord’s insurance or something would pay for our inconvenience. We never started the fire and somehow I feel it’s our fault.”

But the law is a lot more complicated.

Tenants rights lawyer Ted Wright of the Westmount Legal Clinic says those reimbursements aren’t enough.

“Article 19.22 of the Civil Code says move out costs, move in costs, reasonable expenses, and difference in rent,” said Wright.

Ultimately, Wright says the tenants would need to challenge this at the rental board and hire a lawyer to help their cause.

“When landlords want to empty buildings, if there’s anything that happens, there’s always a claim or often a claim, ‘this building has to be evacuated forever,’” said Wright.

The company who sent the letter told CTV News that work is scheduled to start later in the month.

A compensation plan has been put in place for those looking to live elsewhere, but tenants are concerned about not having a place to live between June and September.

SIGN UP NOW

Stay up-to-date and in-the-know by subscribing to one of our newsletters