Tenants on Grand Boulevard in Montreal’s NDG district say they’re concerned they are being pushed out of their building after the front door buzzer stopped working — the latest in a series of things going wrong in the apartment complex.
The property’s management, however, insists this isn’t the case.
Dr. Myrna Lashley, one of the tenants, says it’s more than an issue of inconvenience. “So let’s say that you order food, or you have a package coming, but more importantly let’s say someone gets sick — there’s no way to let paramedics inside if you can’t get to the front entrance of the building,” she told Global News.
On Friday, Global News witnessed a Canada Post worker who was unable to enter the building to deliver mail. Renters who spoke to Global allege it’s the latest tactic by the landlord to force them out.
“They’re trying to do whatever they can to make our lives as difficult as they can so that we want to leave,” said Josh Kimmel, one of the tenants.
Other problems in the building the renters claim are additional pressure tactics to get them out include the broken garage door, the broken lights in the stairway, and the unkept grass and bushes in front of the building.
Tenants say the landlord did not respond to multiple complaints about the issues, some of which pose serious safety risks.
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According to them, the issues started when a new owner took over the building in July and spoke to tenants about leaving.
“They give a different story to everybody,” Kimmel laughed. “Everybody gets a different story.”
He says he was told he has to leave because the building needs major renovations, but he wasn’t given further details. According to Lashley, the landlord asked her to move because the apartment was needed for a relative of his.
But in a statement to Global News, property manager Julian Zottola wrote that with regard to evicting tenants, “no such notices were ever sent to any of the tenants nor do we want them to leave.”
“We were made aware that the buzzer and lights in the hallway weren’t functioning yesterday night at approximately 7 p.m.,” he said.
“This issue should be resolved shortly, a service call has already been made.”
He added that work needs to be done in the basement as one of the units was “completely destroyed,” and that the need for this work was communicated to residents. “Clearly this was misunderstood,” he added.
Tenants who spoke to Global News admit they didn’t receive a written notice of eviction, but residents have retained a lawyer to look into their concerns.
The Quebec tenants associations have previously noted an increase in the number of ‘renovictions’ — evictions based on the pretext of renovations to a rental property — in recent years in Montreal.
Under Quebec law it is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for renovations in order to then rent the unit to a new tenant at a much higher price.