Tenants evicted in the middle of winter

News 9 February, 2018
  • Photo Benoît Philie
    Steven Latimer has until 22 February to evacuate the housing where it remains for 15 years. It is still not known if he will be able to find a place in time for the move.

    Benoît Philie

    Friday, 9 February 2018 01:00

    Friday, 9 February 2018 01:00

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    Montrealers are afraid of ending up on the street after the City ordered the complete evacuation of their building to be unsafe to three weeks notice.

    “I’m waiting for a place in social housing for four years… I’m sick, I broke my knee recently, and now, I risk finding myself without shelter in the middle of the winter,” said Steven Latimer, met in front of the block of the Pointe-Saint-Charles where he lives since 15 years.

    Photo Benoît Philie

    The City of Montreal ordered the complete evacuation of this building located in the 2520-2530, rue du Centre, in Pointe-Saint-Charles, near Verdun, for security reasons.

    The man of fifty years, he learned Friday that he will have to find a new apartment, make its boxes and move out of here a few days, a situation that makes them anxious.

    The Direction de l’habitation of the Ville de Montréal has sent letters to the fifteen tenants of the 2520-2530, Center street, last Friday, to inform them that they had to leave before noon on the 22nd of February, without which they would be evacuated by force.

    Unsafe to live in

    “During an audit on December 19, 2017, we have found that the dwelling in which you reside is unsafe to live in. This situation can adversely affect your health, and your security […] “, said in the document sent to the occupants, without giving more details.

    Photo Benoît Philie

    The tenant Giulia Giorgi can’t believe that the City gives only three weeks for the move. It promises to be good in it, despite the recurrent problems of water infiltration.

    The three-storey building has 10 rooms, of which one is uninhabited, according to the tenant Giulia Giorgi. An indian restaurant and a hair salon occupy the premises on the ground floor.

    During the passage of the Newspaper, garbage bags filled with hanging around in some corridors in which floated a damp smell. Several walls were cracked and sachets of drugs, and cigarette butts littered the ground near an exit.

    Ms. Giorgio, who lives on the place with a roommate for three years, says he is shocked by the short time granted by the City to evacuate.

    “We would have liked to have two or three months to prepare. We, we work, we must put all our things in boxes. This is a lot of work in three weeks, not to mention the stress of finding a new apartment, ” she said.


    The woman, 48-year-old regrets not having any support from the City for the help with the move, except for a phone number to the Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal.

    “They brought me out a list of available apartments, but most are Montreal-Nord, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve or even Longueuil and are more expensive. The rent is $ 600 for a 5 1/2 here. We will never find that anywhere else, ” she continued.

    Photo Benoît Philie

    In a hallway, a wall damaged metal has been repaired with what appears to be plaster.

    Apart from the occasional presence of cockroaches and some water damage in his room on the third, Mrs. Giorgio said to have had no other problems.

    Its neighbor, Damascus Saboohi, lives in the block for 22 years and pays about $ 500 for his 4 1/2. She refuses to leave the place.

    “I do not understand that the City has permitted me to live here as long if it is so dangerous to my safety,” she says.


    Several problems in the block

    • Traces of water infiltration, mold and mildew
    • The presence of vermin and rodents
    • Structure deficient
    • Access to the building is poorly secured and allow the alléeset from squatters
    • Several slots do not have two exits conforming
    • Non-conformities electrical


    The rapid evacuation is necessary for the safety of people, ” said the City

    The period of three weeks granted to the tenants of a building unsafe to evacuate in the middle of winter is necessary, ensures the City of Montreal, who believes that the life of residents is in danger.

    “The time allowed is normal given the risks to the safety or health of the occupants. In some cases, the evacuation may take place on the same day as the inspection, ” said the spokesman of the City, Jules Chamberland, in an e-mail sent to the Newspaper.

    The period of the year is not a factor in the decision-making as it is to ensure the safety of citizens, ” he adds.

    The City ensures that the tenants of the 2520-2530, street of the Center will all be relocated to safe and secure housing by 22 February with the help of the reference department of the Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal, which maintains a list of available apartments.


    The inspectors of the Directorate of housing have found safety problems and maintenance in the building as early as 2011, during a first visit. The City ordered the owner, Spyros Zaphiratos, to perform corrective work.

    On the 19th of December last, during a second inspection, the City noted that the owner had reduced the number of dwellings from 8 to 10 in the block, since, no longer meets the standards for emergency exits.

    The owner has been informed of the evacuation notice at the end of the month of January, ” says Dr. Chamberland.

    The building will be barricaded until the owner to undertake remedial work.

    The tenants, who must leave by February 22, may sign a notice of abandonment which will exempt them from paying their rent throughout the period in which the housing is not the subject of the work.

    The owner of the building has not been recalled by The Newspaper.

    Since January 2016, 13 buildings have been the subject of an evacuation, partial or complete, at Montreal, for reasons of security or safety.