A Verdun apartment complex has received an evacuation order due to unsafe living conditions.
The City of Montreal issued a notice for the building at 315 Rielle St. earlier this month, meaning all tenants will have to leave the premises by the end of October.
Many tenants moved out earlier this month after the heating and water supplies were cut off, but at least one tenant is standing his ground and remains determined to fight for his right to stay in the building, which he has called home for the last 45 years.
“(The landlord)’s turned off the water now, without warning anyone,” said the tenant, who asked to remain anonymous. He added: “He doesn’t give a damn about tenants whatsoever.”
The tenant claims he was threatened inside the building by an unknown individual late last night and now fears for his safety.
“(The unknown individual) was swearing at me. He said I’ll kick the f**king s**t out of you and stuff like this,” the tenant said, fighting back tears. “Later, I come back after the police go, and I found my TV gone. It was stolen.”
The majority of tenants at 315 Rielle St. have already left, and the landlord has begun renovations.
Mahlex Group president Mahir Ozdilek says he owns the building, as well as the Plateau apartment complex from which tenants were evicted last week.
He says he bought the property in July but denies any wrongdoing — Ozdilek blames the previous landlord for allowing the building to deteriorate.
“Why would I feel bad? I’m not doing anything illegal. I’m buying old properties and cleaning them up,” Ozdilek said. “We’ve been doing this for over 20 years now; we know what we’re doing.”
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante insists she’s taking a close look at her legal options and intends to penalize the owner and fine him accordingly.
“They will be getting a lot of fines, but we also need to find other ways within our legal framework,” Plante said. “My message to those landlords is that that is not acceptable. We will not tolerate for them to not take their responsibilities and put people in the street.”
Ozdilek says he’s still waiting for an answer to his request to meet with Plante.
“The mayor can do whatever she wants. She’s more than welcome to meet with us and discuss about this,” he said.
Tenants who haven’t given up their leases will have the right to return home, but many expect they may not be able to afford rent after renovations.
“I refuse to take this without a fight because this is not right,” said the tenant. “I’m not just doing it for myself; I’m doing it for other people as well.”