Frustrated Verdun, Côte-des-Neiges tenants speak out about renoviction

Frustrated tenants speak out about landlord’s actions
WATCH: A group of tenants is battling what they call harassment on behalf of their landlord. Phil Carpenter explains.

Renoviction — it’s something housing advocates say is becoming more and more common.

“[It’s] using renovation as an excuse to evict people,” Steve Baird of the Verdun Citizens’ Action Committee explained.  “Buy a building, kick everyone out, sell it again, and then restart the process.”

Eleven tenants at three apartment buildings in Verdun and Côte-des-Neiges think that’s what’s happening where they live.  They say they started getting harassed by their new landlord after they got a notice to leave the building for 12 months.

READ MORE: Tensions boil as residents continue fight against Hampstead demolition project

“They asked us to leave for major works,” said Maude Poirier-Caron, one of the tenants at a building on Decarie Boulevard.

“In all the dwellings, they want to re-do the floors, bathrooms, kitchens. They want to add balconies and re-do all the windows.”

But according to Poirier-Caron, in most cases renovations aren’t needed because some units were recently refurbished.

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“I mean, it’s clear that it was re-done recently,” she said. “There’s no plumbing problems, no problems with the ceiling.”

WATCH: (June 11, 2019) Vancouver council considers new law that would better protect tenants

Vancouver council considers new law that would better protect tenants
Vancouver council considers new law that would better protect tenants

The buildings are on Decarie Boulevard in Côte-des-Neiges and 2nd Avenue in Verdun.  Tenants have already left most of the 33 units, but those remaining say they have been facing undue pressure by the landlord to leave.

“We noticed a significant decrease in how much they were taking care of the building,” Poirier-Caron claimed.

READ MORE: Hampstead tenants mount legal challenge following ‘illegal’ vote in favour of demolition

Other tenants say they’ve received repeated visits from bailiffs trying to encourage them to move out.  Baird said this strategy is happening more and more because of real estate speculation.

“We’ve seen how real estate speculation can have disastrous consequences in a number of neighbourhoods and cities,” he stressed.

He wants more in law to protect tenants but until that happens, he said tenants should learn about their rights before signing anything, and if they are in doubt, get help from community organizations or legal aid clinics.