A dozen Mile-End tenants threatened with eviction after the sale of their building, some of which they have occupied for nearly 30 years, fear they will never find affordable housing in Montreal.
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“Where are we going to be able to go and live? We have families in the building who have been there for years with children. We are going to force them to change schools, lose their bearings, their friends,” says Jodie Prévost, a 34-year-old tenant who received an eviction notice for her accommodation located rue Jeanne-Mance, in the borough. of the Plateau-Mont-Royal.
Between December 22 and 28, she and her neighbors all received, or almost all, eviction notices due to “substantial expansions”. Two tenants received notices of repossession of housing, so that the owner lodges there or lodges members of his family there.
“Barely a month after they bought the buildings, we received notices brought by a bailiff. We suspected that’s what was going to happen, but we didn’t think it would be so fast,” breathes Shantal Allard, a 65-year-old resident.
“I had cancer, I have chronic pain, and now I live with the fear of losing my home and my neighborhood in which I have lived for 28 years,” she adds.
For all the inhabitants, the announcement fell like a crushing blow during the Holidays. Because for most of them, relocating to the neighborhood is almost impossible.
“We know that if we have to leave, we will never be able to stay in the neighborhood, the prices have risen too much”, drops Ms. Allard.
The latter pays $535 for her 5 1/2. His sister, Suzanne Allard, for her part pays $613 for 4 1/2. Jodie Prévost pays $740 for the 4 1/2 that she has occupied for four years.
In the neighborhood, the 5 1/2 are not found below $1800. Same thing for the 4 1/2 which now cost more than $1,400.
“It shatters lives, it shatters neighborhoods. It’s a disaster,” adds Ms. Allard, who plans to leave Montreal, having little hope of finding similar accommodation at a lower cost.
Since then, the group of tenants have been trying to untangle the law and have decided to stick together and fight to keep their roof.
On Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, a regulation introduced in September 2020 notably prohibits the subdivision or expansion of housing. However, exceptions are provided.
“There are loopholes in the laws and regulations that make them [les propriétaires] always end up finding an exception that allows them to achieve their ends,” says Shantal Allard.
For her, the various governments must put in place much firmer rules.
“I don’t know how they imagine the future in Montreal because it’s not viable! We are running into a wall, at the moment it is only the rich who can live there, ”laments Jodie Prévost.
Lack of options
These practices have a major impact on Montreal housing, which is becoming less and less affordable, but also on households that are being evicted.
“With the housing crisis, people were stressed and afraid of not being able to relocate to the Plateau. Now, people are even wondering if they will be able to relocate to Montreal or the surrounding area because housing is unaffordable,” laments Vicky Langevin, community organizer at the Plateau-Mont-Royal Housing Committee.
It also highlights the glaring lack of options for those paying very low rents, adds Catherine Lussier, of the Popular Action Front in Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU).
“These are people who often should find themselves in social housing, but who will not necessarily be able to find it on time because of the long waiting lists and the fact that the projects do not come out of the ground,” he says. -she.