June 20, 2014 2:33 pm

Montreal tenant fights her landlord for right of privacy

MONTREAL – Catalina Aldana moved to Montreal six years ago.

The Concordia University student has lived in a small downtown apartment for almost half that time, but she hasn’t felt safe for a single second.

“I have people trying to break into my apartment on many, multiple occasions,” she said.

She is desperate to get out of what she considers a living nightmare.

“I don’t feel safe with people breaking into my apartment and standing on my balcony,” she said.

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“I wasn’t able to sleep at night. Every single noise woke me up at night.”

She has given ample notice to her landlord that she’s moving on, but is now facing a whole other issue, as the property owners search for a new tenant.

“I am cool if they come to see my apartment while I’m here but if I’m not here, I’m not going to feel safe or comfortable having strangers inside my apartment,” said Aldana.

Cogefimo, the company that owns the building, admitted Aldana isn’t a bad tenant, but they’ve been in a constant battle to get her to open her doors to prospective clients ever since she cancelled her lease.

“Just let me know two minutes in advance,” insisted Aldana.

“What if I’m in the shower? Just be kind of nice with the person that’s still living in the place.”

Contrary to what Cogefimo has told Aldana, the Quebec Rental Board insists a tenant has the right to refuse access to their apartment.

“The landlord has no right to enter the dwelling when you’re not there,” said Denis Miron, a spokesperson for the Board.

“This is not an urgent situation.”

When Aldana pointed this out to her landlord, the response was a threat.

“They told me if I don’t allow people in, they’ll break my door,” she said.

“That’s what they told me and it got me really scared because I am alone.”

Leanne Ashworth, from Concordia’s Student Housing, told Global News that issues like this are extremely common, especially when the tenants are students.

“The tenant’s rights of privacy are still in effect,” she pointed out.

“They have a right to their home, a right to privacy. The landlord can’t come in with no notice.”

Aldana has ten days left in her apartment, but she admits she’s packing in a rush to get out as soon as she can.

“I want to be in a place where I feel safe and that my landlord cares a little about me,” she said.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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