In the News
Quebec Days of Action to Affirm the Human Right to Housing!
No to the Eviction of Tenants of Private
On January 31, the more than 200 tenants of the Mont Carmel Private Residence for Seniors (PRS) in Montreal received an eviction notice from their landlord, Group LRM.
According to the Association des Comités de Résidents Officielle du Québec (ACROQ), the eviction notice delivered by a bailiff to each of the senior residents of the PRS specifies that their dwelling will be changing its designation as of August 1, at which time it will become a standard residential dwelling. The services provided in the PRS, such as 24-hour nursing services and daily supervision of each apartment to ensure that all residents remain in good health, will be eliminated.
ACROQ reports that the landlord, who purchased the residence in December, is proposing that tenants remain in the building after the transition by signing a lease with a three per cent rent increase, while all current services are to be cut. The landlord also informed that all tenants wishing to leave could receive the equivalent of three months’ base rent, as required by law.
Some 400 residents at the Château Beaurivage residence, a large seniors’ complex owned by the same landlord and also located in Montreal, have received a similar eviction notice, media report.
These actions have created huge anxiety amongst the seniors, who require services in order to remain safe and continue living independently. Their anxiety is further heightened by Montreal’s housing crisis, an expression of which is the lack of affordable rental housing.
Speaking to the press, the president of the Mont-Carmel PRS tenants’ committee said: “We want to keep our PRS. We’re experiencing this loss as if our village had just been closed down.”
ACROQ notes that these evictions are being facilitated by the completely outdated rules contained in the Civil Code of Québec, such as no. 1959, which gives the landlord full power to change, without exception or restriction, the designation of a dwelling. The change of designation provided for by the Civil Code opens the door to another section which guarantees landlords the possibility of increasing rents as they see fit, without any possibility of contesting the increase for the five years following that change. These rules, writes the association, serve as a backdrop to the systematic mistreatment of the elderly that has been observed for years.
ACROQ is demanding, amongst other things, that the National Assembly amend the Civil Code to prohibit such arbitrary actions.
Opposition to these eviction notices is mounting. In particular, tenants’ assemblies are being organized to examine legal recourse against these evictions.
Spokespersons for the Quebec government have provided an entirely detached and irresponsible response to these eviction notices. Those speaking on behalf of the Minister Responsible for Seniors and Informal Caregivers have said that the CIUSSS (Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre) will provide home care and support services to seniors who wish to remain in the residence, despite the threat of eviction.
In fact, the CIUSSS only offers services to people who have gone through a screening process and who meet certain criteria. It does not provide 24-hour nursing services. Instead of opposing the eviction notice, the CIUSSS declared that they will assist seniors who are evicted to find housing appropriate to their situation.
People are calling for these eviction notices to be rescinded and banned, and are opposing private investors and governments who treat housing as a means for private profit, in violation of the human right to housing and to live in dignity.
(Workers’ Forum, posted February 11, 2022)