Is there an end in sight for this issue …? I’ve looked into it further and have had conversations with other members of government as well in order to get much-needed insight on an issue that seems to be affecting the community in a plethora of ways
As we reported a few weeks back, a disagreement erupted during a borough council meeting held at the beginning of October. The topic of discourse was ‘renovictions’ —evictions by landlords by reason of renovation; the reasons of which can be plentiful and determined case by case.
But there were those for the motion and those opposed. The community was made to voice its concern very shortly after the council meeting aired online. Mary Deros, as well as three of the other council members … Josué Corvil, Rosannie Filato and Sylvain Ouellet, feel one way about it, the mayor another.
Somembers of the community posted online—in groups or on personal pages—many who found themselves finding fault with the motion for. During the proceedings, it was evident that Mayor Fumagalli was against the motion and in statements she made herself on social media, she planned to stand her ground. Now, after many more borough council meetings, we can have a better idea of where we stand or so we hope.
A crazy buzz online & in the borough
Following the Borough Council Meeting we reported on a few weeks back and concerning the renovictions issue that has created quite the hubbub online and in the borough these past few weeks, there have been not one but many follow-up council borough meetings. Citizens also held protests and demonstrations—one of which was held right outside the borough council offices on Ogilvy.
Statements from Mayor Fumagalli at the follow-up meetings
These statements are from the 22nd of October Borough Council meeting: “The last meeting, I exercised my right of veto on the motion proposed by Ms. Filato and Mr. Ouellet with the aim of giving us a little time to find a compromise. Content of the Montreal project and of the fact over the last month and the boroughs have adopted regulatory measures to preserve and protect their rental stock. Rosemont, Le Plateau, etc. I hope we can come to an agreement on a proposal. Unfortunately, although I re-launched Ms. Filato and Mr. Ouellet, they did not want to resume discussions. This is why we find this morning with the same proposal that was on the table last week, and which in my opinion, does not meet the objectives that we set for ourselves the loses of housing on our territory and frail abusive evictions … I did try to convince, but in vain. It seems that I am the only one concerned with the tenant families.”
Mary Deros’s statements after the first Borough Council Meeting
In response to a piece I wrote about a building owner that purchased a building on Bloomfield and hiked rents up astronomically after doing a few renovations, Mary Deros had this to say: “They should go to the Provincial Government.” How owners deal with their tenants is something the rental board can help them with, she also stated. She felt that the situation that the tenants found themselves in on Bloomfield was terrible and not at all just. She feels for those people and says that their motion has nothing at all to do with this type of behavior. Their overall goal is to help the families that wish to expand their household with renovations and possible evictions and nothing more.
So I contacted Andres Fontecilla. Here is what he had to say: “The financialization of the rental market over the past decades caused the loss of thousands of rental units, in Montreal but throughout Quebec as well.
Consequently, small players such as tenants and small landlords are now pitted against each other while the multi-unit landlords who own hundreds and thousands of units – for pure speculation purposes – walk around freely, buying more and more units, making no distinction between the housing market and the capitalist stock market.
While the conversion of duplexes into single-family homes usually isn’t done with a speculative intent, it unfortunately will necessarily reduce the amount of rental housing available. This will have the effect of increasing the remaining rents, which are already very high because of the housing crisis. Thus, in the current context, such conversion resulting in a loss of housing units does not seem to me to be the preferred avenue.
While the cities and boroughs can intervene to preserve the amount of rental housing available, the provincial and federal governments must take their immense responsibility in that field. However, over the past decades, we’ve observed successive governments not taking any responsibility to ensure that each one of us can have a roof over their head. The governments have not recognized housing as a fundamental right. Tenants are understandably angry and disappointed in their governments.
However, there are solutions to the housing crisis, which I have put forward relentlessly over the past two years: setting up a major national housing project to build 10 000 units of social housing each year over the next five years, regulating temporary housing rentals such as Airbnb, limiting the use of housing units for temporary touristic purposes, and decree a moratorium on reno-evictions where the vacancy rate is below 3%. Those are just a few examples of the solutions I’ve put forward at the provincial level to preserve and increase the amount of rental housing available and I will continue to do so.”