Local family could be evicted for an administrative mistake
A family of 5 may soon be evicted from their apartment on Beaumont Avenue because of a filing error with the Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL), Québec’s provincial housing authority.
“I forgot to upload a document I already had,” said current tenant Mr. Boudjemaa to Le Journal de Montréal, adding that “it’s really complicated with the TAL.”
Along with his wife and three children, Mr. Boudjemaa has lived in the rented 5½ apartment for eight years. He received an eviction notice from the owner in December.
The duplex had recently sold to a new owner who wanted to renovate the building. The owner offered Boudjemaa $20,000 if he vacated by Apr. 1.
Boudjemaa enjoys living in the apartment and has been there since 2013. “I pay 510$ a month,” he said, therefore deciding that he did not want to leave.
He, therefore, refused the eviction notice and proceeded to send the necessary documents to the owner via registered mail. Boudjemaa saw the document had been received on Jan. 7 and printed the notification from the Canada Post website.
Nonetheless, the Tribunal administratif du logement recently outlined new rules in which renters have 45 days to upload proof that the owner has received those documents.
Having never received the proof of reception, which Boudjemaa already had, the Tribunal administratif du logement closed the eviction case file.
Boudjemaa said he had never been informed that this was a requirement to keep an eviction contestation proceeding active.
“If we forget one small thing, we’re on the street,” Boudjemaa told Le Journal de Montréal. He nonetheless decided to pay the 80$ fee and start the proceedings once again. “At least we will get the opportunity to have a hearing,” he said.
Martin Blanchard of the housing committee for La Petite-Patrie also protested the decision. He told Le Journal de Montréal that the families file “was closed on Feb. 12 because of administrative nonsense.”
Blanchard added that Boudjemaa “had never been informed that his file would be closed without the right to a hearing.”
Blanchard highlighted that this was not an isolated incident either. He said that a similar situation occurred with another tenant in the area in late January. Blanchard stated that the person’s experience “took away all motivation. He abandoned [proceedings].”
Many point to this as being part of a growing trend, according to a report by CTV News. Colloquially termed a renoviction, this practice consists of renovating an apartment in order to evict current tenants and subsequently raise rent prices, according to a definition outlined by the Province of British-Columbia.
Even though tenants are allowed to contest an eviction notice, many are unaware of their rights and are evicted without recourse, according to local Parc-Extension housing group CAPE.
With city statistics indicating that 71% of borough residents live in rented homes, rising real-estate prices in the area may also increase the number of evictions of low-income families.
The housing advocacy group FRAPRU says this often forces people out of their homes and away from their neighbourhoods, and therefore away from their family and community aid networks.
Change in Mandate
The Tribunal administratif du logement was reformed Sept. 1, changing it’s name from the Régie du Logement.
Since the reform, the TAL now has the express mandate to accelerate proceedings on these matters in order to reach resolutions, said Andrés Fontecilla, Québec Solidaire MNA for Laurier-Dorion, to Le Journal de Montréal.
Yet Fontecilla says that this has resulted in the tribunal having an incentive to close files as quickly as possible, resulting in situations like these.
A spokesperson for the TAL, Denis Miron, told Le Journal de Montréal that “the Tribunal makes sure to inform on new rules, including those governing the notification of requests”.
Nonetheless, Boudjemaa claims he never received any information on the matter, but hopes he will be able to win his case and keep his home.