Marie-Jeanne Lefebvre considers herself one of the lucky tenants after she was served with an eviction notice. The 71-year-old found a new place to live in just a few days.
“Thankfully I can still care of myself,” she said. “Others need more help.”
Lefebvre, who receives welfare, is worried though about how she will pay her moving bills. She’s also frustrated with the city for moving to evict residents from the building so quickly, and not offering much help.
“The only thing they did for us is to tell us to leave Oct. 17,” she said.
The city condemned the building on Marie-Anne Street in the Plateau-Mont-Royal last week after years of complaints.
The building had mold issues and bug infestations, as well as major structural issues.
The final blow for the city came last week with the failure of the heating system. They moved quickly to issue evacuation notes to residents in advance of the coming colder weather.
WATCH: Close to 30 tenants living in a dilapidated apartment building in Plateau—Mont-Royal are facing eviction
What is leaving tenants confused about their rights in this whole process is that the building changed hands this week. Mahlex Groupe bought the building for $6 million on Wednesday.
“I believe we are doing something good,” said Mahlex Groupe president Mahir Ozdilek.
“We are cleaning up these properties.”
The new owner plans on gutting the structure and rebuilding, with rent likely doubling. It will probably take at least one year for the renovations.
A total of 10 per cent of the units will be dedicated to social housing.
The new owner says it is the city’s responsibility to help tenants. He said his company is, however, offering thousands of dollars of compensation to tenants for breaking their leases.
“These are people with special needs. I think the city should address that,” said Ozdilek. “As far as us, we are just doing that out of good faith at this point in time.”
A city social worker was at the building on Wednesday morning, trying to help residents out. But many remain confused and worried about what will happen next.
“So far, we got no help,” said tenant Sylvie Labonté.
“We got nothing.”
Labonté, who doesn’t have a phone, said she doesn’t know about any compensation offers.
“I paid my rent Oct.1 and I am on welfare. I don’t have the money to pay twice and don’t have the money to move so I really don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.
City spokesman Philippe Sabourin says the city’s housing arm is helping tenants relocate before that Oct. 17 deadline.
He says they have gotten in touch with about one-third of residents so far, and are urging others to contact the housing arm.
He says if apartments aren’t found for everyone by Oct. 17, the city will temporarily put the residents up in hotels until new housing can be found.
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