Residents of two different buildings with the same owner in Pointe-Ste-Charles are being evicted from their apartments by the city.
“I’ve never ever known of a situation like this, or had to live of a situation like this,” said Giulia Giorgi, who lives on Centre Street in one of the affected buildings.
Giorgi, who says she’s a substitute teacher and works part-time at The Bay, lives at the apartment with a roommate. She says on Feb. 1, they received a letter from the city that described her home as “unfit to live in.” The letter demands residents evacuate by Feb. 22, giving her three weeks to find a new place.
“It’s been causing a lot of stress,” she told Global News. “Every day, I’ve been going out, looking for apartments. I’ve been packing. I’ve been not sleeping.”
The other building is on adjacent Chateauguay Street.
The city says the evictions are a matter of safety.
“There are unsanitary conditions and in addition to that, there’s the issue with the emergency exists. The emergency exits don’t conform with the regulations,” said city spokesman Philippe Sabourin.
Sabourin says the city has repeatedly asked the building owner to fix the problems since 2010, but no action has been taken.
“Unfortunately, the situation doesn’t change at all, so we’re taking extraordinary measures,” Sabourin said.
Giorgi and others do not want to leave their homes.
“There’s absolutely no vermin. We don’t have any other problem. I just have a little water leaking from the bedroom which they fix all the time,” she told Global News.
Alan Latimer said he’s been living with his two brothers on Centre for 10 years.
“The landlord has no problem with us, we have no problem with him, we’re happy to stay here. We don’t want to leave,” he said.
The city is offering to help people find new apartments, but Giorgi says many of the places they’re offered are in other neighbourhoods, or even off-island. Without a car, she worries her commute to work would get much longer.
“They didn’t even have one apartment in this area,” she said, adding that she’s being forced to move in the middle of the winter.
Global News reached out to the owner of the buildings for comment did not receive a response. A lawyer who said he was hired by the building owner said he was planning to challenge the evictions in court.
The city said they had not heard from any lawyer representing the owner.