Tenants in Petite-Patrie, Villeray and Plateau Mont-Royal have denounced their landlords for trying to illegally evict them from their apartments. The couple of landlords, David Zaffino and Mara Ceccon, of Gestion Spyder, had been trying to take back rented apartments by delivering fradulous repossession notices.
TL;DR Landlords in Montreal are evicting tenants of the false premise that they need the apartments to lodge sick relatives in order to generate greater earnings. No legal action has been taken with the Régie du Logement, but plaintiffs intend to take collective action.
Tenants started noticing something was off when they received letters from their landlords demanding their eviction that were full of punctuation errors. In Quebec, it is legal for landlords to request their property back to lodge a member of one's family, as long as the demand is sincere.
One tenant, Geoffrey Roy, received a letter that demanded he leave his apartment so that his landlord could lodge his mother, Angelina. After speaking to other tenants, he noticed that several others had received the same letter, for the same Angelina. An investigation by the Comité logement de la Petite Patrie found that 'Angelina' had been the beneficiary of five repossessions in 2019, and two in 2018. Another parent, 'Amadeo,' had been invoked for this purpose on five occasions in the last two years.
Further digging by the tenants led to the realisation that the two landlords, who, along with a society, were collectively responsible for 17 repossession notices, are in fact a couple. Their company name changes name often.
These fradulous repossessions of apartments are often done in the name of profit. Some landlords want to convert their lodgings into Airbnb and make more money renting to tourists. Others simply want to be able to raise the rent of their apartments. This particular couple were able to raise the rent of one apartment from $710 to $1675 per month.
LaPresse reports that it is difficult for tenants to determine the veracity of repossession claims. Often, tribunals will believe landlords at their word, and no do any follow up.
If you're a tenant and you're confused about your rights, there are resources out there to help you. The city of Montreal have a few great resources. Éducaloi also have a very comprehensive, easy to follow guide.
Are you surprised that landlords are doing illegal things? Share your bad landlord stories with me, because I'd love to hear them!