Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir Jean-François Raymond will have to leave his apartment on rue Ontario on July 1 because the new owner of the building wants to rent it out on Airbnb.
In order to prevent tenants from being put on the street to make way for Airbnb housing, Québec solidaire is asking the government of François Legault to prohibit the eviction of tenants for conversion into tourist accommodation throughout Quebec.
“For some people, Airbnbs are great travel photos. But for a lot of people right now in Montreal, Airbnbs are a nightmare,” said Québec solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois on Wednesday during a press briefing. at Place Simon-Valois, in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.
At his side, Jean-François Raymond and Sylvain Roy, testified to the anxiety they have been experiencing since receiving an eviction notice from their landlord.
Tenant in an apartment on Ontario Street, Jean-François Raymond, 58, will have to leave his apartment on July 1 because the new owner of the building where he has lived for 22 years wants to rent the accommodation on the Airbnb platform. . His neighbor will also have to leave the accommodation he has occupied for 54 years. “We are living in frightening stress, worries about where we are going to settle,” said Mr. Raymond, who fears that he will not be able to find affordable housing. “We will no longer be able to afford to live on the island. We are evicting tenants to install tourists when there are so many hotels that are struggling to fill up. »
Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois held a press briefing in the company of Jean-François Raymond and Sylvain Roy, Wednesday, at Place Simon-Valois, in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.
Sylvain Roy, he has lived for more than 25 years in a dwelling in Old Montreal bought in December by a corporation. Like the 15 other tenants, he received an eviction notice due to a change of use of the building for hotel use. Only three tenants decided to defend their rights before the Administrative Housing Tribunal (TAL). “I definitely want to stay in my accommodation. »
“The worst thing is that right now, all of this in Quebec is perfectly legal. The law allows owners to make evictions to convert their accommodations into permanent Airbnbs for tourists when they are located in unregulated areas, ”recalled Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. “Throwing someone out to do Airbnb for tourists should be banned, period.
He believes that in the midst of a housing crisis, the CAQ should ban this practice. ” It is easy to do. It costs the government absolutely nothing. We can do that very quickly. We are talking about a very simple amendment to the Civil Code of Quebec to remove conversion into tourist accommodation as a reason for eviction provided by law,” he said.
Rise in evictions
Community organizer for Entraide Logements and the BAILS Committee in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Annie Lapalme notes a “metarous increase” in evictions in Montreal. She says she supports around thirty tenants from Hochelaga-Maisonneuve who, since mid-December, have been threatened with eviction. “It's only the tip of the iceberg. We know very well that the majority of tenants do not have access to our resources because they do not know them. »
She argues that with Airbnb, landlords can receive an amount equivalent to one month's rent in three or four days. “All of this is aided by a lack of control and a rent registry,” she said. “These evictions are incredibly violent. The Legault government knows it. […] It must stop protecting investors. »
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois cited a recent study by McMaster University which reported the disappearance of 116,000 affordable housing units in five years in Quebec, including 90,000 only in Montreal. As for Airbnbs, which are only authorized in certain areas of Montreal, their control is deficient, he believes.
“Numbered companies, which buy blocks, which put the world at door to turn apartments into permanent Airbnbs for tourists, it breaks lives, it's bad for neighborhoods and it shouldn't be allowed in Quebec in 2023,” he said.
The government in reflection
“A simple amendment to the Civil Code of Quebec would make it possible to prohibit evictions for Airbnbs. I've been asking for it for weeks and I'm glad we're tackling this problem which has already claimed too many victims in MHM, “commented on Twitter the mayor of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Pierre Lessard-Blais. .
Questioned during the borough council meeting on Monday evening, Mr. Lessard-Blais acknowledged that this type of eviction was a “drama”. However, he argued that the City of Montreal was forced by law to allow Airbnbs in certain areas, such as Ontario Street, in order to be able to ban them in the rest of the borough.
In the mayor's office, it is indicated that the City is closely monitoring the entry into force, on March 25, of the new law which will authorize Quebecers to rent their main residence on platforms like Airbnb for a maximum period of 30 days. These new legal provisions could give municipalities tools to better regulate tourist accommodation on their territory, it is suggested.
In the office of the Minister responsible for Housing, France-Élaine Duranceau, it is recognized that the situation can be difficult for tenants and that “there can sometimes be abuse by landlords who wish to transform their building”.
For now, however, the government does not seem ready to agree to Québec solidaire's request. “The MNA for Labelle and parliamentary assistant, Ms. Chantale Jeannotte, has been given the mandate to meet with various groups and experts with an interest in the rental market in order to make recommendations that will provide solutions to housing issues. rental in the current context. […] The issues related to tourist accommodation were already part of this reflection, “said Philippe Couture, press officer for the Minister.