Park Ex tenants want borough council to restrict renovation permits

Avleen K Mokha

Community organizers protesting for tenants' rights in February, 2020. Photo: CAPE
Community organizers protesting for tenants’ rights in February, 2020. Photo: CAPE

Committee Action of Park Extension (CAPE) is calling on the elected officials of the Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough to act without delay in adopting measures to restrict permits for renovations in order to prevent the eviction of tenants in the neighborhood.  

Some boroughs in Greater Montreal have adopted regulations restricting that restrict permits for renovations aiming to subdivide, enlarge, or change the use of a dwelling. Borough councils of Ville-Marie, Sud-Ouest, Plateau Mont-Royal, Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie and Mercier-Hochelaga–Maisonneuve have adopted such measures.

Over the last year, CAPE has observed an increase in the number of evictions to enlarge, subdivide, and change the use of units, forcing tenants out of their homes. 

“We can expect that landlords will more frequently resort to using renovation permits to evict tenants,” said Amy Darwish, community organizer at CAPE.

“We should limit the tools available to landlords that can be used to push tenants out of their homes.”

CAPE believes that the current COVID-19 crisis could potentially exacerbate the housing crisis in the neighborhood.

In a context of economic uncertainty, and in light of the current public health directives, many tenants will choose not to move this year, which could contribute to the housing shortage.

Many tenants who are waiting on hearings for repossessions or evictions could find themselves forced to find new housing in a difficult rental market, with very little time before July 1st. 

“We believe that the borough shouldn’t wait for the mass displacement of tenants before taking action,” said Amy Darwish. “Proactive measures are necessary to keep tenants in the neighborhood and to ensure that transition after COVID-19 leaves no tenant behind.”