Saint-Henri tenants pushed out to make room for short-term rentals

Click to play video: 'St-Henri eviction raises eyebrows'
St-Henri eviction raises eyebrows
ABOVE: Saint-Henri eviction raises eyebrows – Dec 23, 2019

With their homes being converted into short-term rentals, a group of Saint-Henri residents are facing eviction.

A week before Christmas, Allison Ryan received a registered letter from her landlord, but it wasn’t an early Christmas present.

In fact, quite the contrary — it was an eviction notice.

The property owner, Shiller Lavy, wants to turn the apartment building into short-term rental accommodations, such as an Airbnb.

Ryan said Shiller Lavy said it has approval from the Sud-Ouest borough, but Ryan wonders how this is possible, since new rules have been put in place to restrict evictions for short-term rentals.

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“In respect to the housing crisis, to swap tenants out in lieu of tourists is a bit shocking, that we weren’t protected,” Ryan said.

This isn’t the first time Ryan has been evicted from an apartment for a similar reason.

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“If I’m forced to move, it would be quite a struggle to find a place — quasi-impossible in my imagination — to find a place that’s in a nice area, where I feel safe, at a reasonable rent,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Matt Lee explains the legalities of turning rental properties into Airbnb services'
Matt Lee explains the legalities of turning rental properties into Airbnb services

The borough says Ryan’s street is not in the zone that is protected by the new rules. In a statement, councillor Craig Sauvé said, “We don’t comment on specific cases, but obviously we are fully with the tenants who have received eviction notices.

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“We are doing all of the required verifications to ensure the municipal bylaws are being respected and that the Shiller Lavy group is not acting illegally.”

Sauvé went on to say that he invites the tenants to reach out to the rental board in this case, and that the borough will be there to support them.

“The commodification of rental properties is an issue, particularly in the context of a tightening rental market and we must collectively question the decisions that have been made by the owners,” he continued in the statement.

Ryan, meanwhile, said she is contesting the eviction.

Global News called the Shiller Lavy group for comment, but they did not return a request for an interview.

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