Friday, July 19, 2024

Tenants in 16-floor apartment building in Ottawa’s west-end served eviction notices

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More than 100 people in Ottawa’s west-end are in the process of receiving eviction notices to vacate their 50-year-old apartment building for renovations.

“A couple of days to make a decision is not fair,” said a tenant who’s lived in the building for the past two years.

The tenant did not want us to use her name because she fears retribution from the building manager.

She tells CTV News Ottawa on Wednesday she received an N13 eviction notice along with a letter saying: “We understand that this announcement may come as a surprise, but we need to address the aging infrastructure. In order to ensure the safety and quality of living for all residents, we need to proceed with necessary renovations.”

She adds the notice comes one week after she found out her building had been sold.

“I’m looking at the cheapest apartments, most places are $1,700 and up so that’s a drastic increase,” she said.

Right now, for one-bedroom apartment on Richmond Road, she pays around $1000, including utilities.

Her options are to terminate the lease and receive $5,000 or come back to the renovated unit and face a rent increase of hundreds of dollars a month. She says she has until Monday to decide.

“It’s been very anxiety provoking, especially for some of us who are students and who are residing there. We are not sure what to do or where to go next,” she said.

Advocates say renovictions are happening throughout the city at an alarming rate, leaving people with unaffordable rents in a competitive market.

“It is very hard to find somewhere else,” said Bader Abu-Zahra, chair of the ACORN Vanier chapter. “We have seen that people are moving out and staying with their parents or relatives but really we don’t know what’s going to happen to them.”

Rheal Brady is currently fighting his eviction notice in Vanier at an apartment he’s lived in for more than 20 years.

“It’s hard for me, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring,” said Brady. “It’s $1,500 for a bachelor, I don’t even have that.”

On Richmond Road, many of the tenants in the 16-floor building have lived there for years.

“There are complex decisions to be made in balancing the need for renovations with the impact on tenants. While we sympathize with our residents, the decision to renovate the now 50-year-old apartments is crucial for ensuring the safety and quality for residents. Furthermore, we must also protect our investment and provide a better living environment for current and future resident. For those who oppose our approach, we would like to ask: ‘How long should we wait to renovate our 50-year-old apartments?'” management tells CTV News in a statement.

While some tenants in the building are accepting their fate, others like the woman we spoke with are debating whether to stay and fight.

“I do feel like we are being thrown to the wolves and of course from a business perspective you want to consider making more money, but where is the humanity?” she said.

The city is in the process of exploring a renoviction bylaw that would make it harder to evict tenants in order to renovate and charge a higher rent. A report is expected to come to council in September.

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