Renovations: Tenants victims of pressure from the owner of Mont-Carmel

Everyone is tired here, sighs Youssef, resident of 90, rue Crépeau, in the commune of Saint-Laurent. Since the building was bought on March 31 by Investissements Crepeau Deguire SEC, a company owned by Mr. Zavriyev, Youssef says he is under pressure to leave his home. The story is similar to 95 rue Deguire, a building purchased at the same time.

And the crowds are not new, say several tenants. In the days following the sale, two representatives of Investissements Crepeau Deguire SEC, David Mimoun and Avi Elkeslassy, ​​began meeting the hundred tenants of these two towers of 77 apartments to offer them to leave before September 2022, due to the large work that the company will do there.

Two options are presented to the tenants, the latter report to us. Option 1 consists of finding temporary housing during the works and then returning to the renovated housing, but at an increased rent based on the cost of the works and inflation. Option 2, preferred by the managers, the tenants say: leave your accommodation with the equivalent, in your pocket, of several months’ rent as compensation.

Youssef, in the car park at 90, rue Crépeau

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Options that not everyone likes. “They offered me $8,000 cash to leave, but I refused,” explains Youssef, who has lived at 90 Crépeau for more than 25 years. His rent is currently $710 for a 3½.

Like Youssef, Ismahan, Marin and Fouad, tenants we spoke to have also rejected an offer from the landlord and have no plans to leave at this time.

House renovated into apartments from the top shelf

Real estate entrepreneur Henry Zavriyev is not his first achievement in the field. He recently made headlines for similar reasons with regard to the Mont-Carmel and Château Beaurivage senior residences, which were acquired by his companies. The buildings at Deguire and Crépeau were also not the only ones he bought in the Saint-Laurent sector.

The adjacent building, 70 rue Crépeau, has also been owned by Henry Zavriyev since April. This building had been renovated by its former owner, Topo Immobilier, who had also pressured the tenants to leave their homes due to work.

Some apartments at 70 Crépeau are currently for rent by the new company Investissements Crépeau Deguire SEC $/mois pendant 12mois au lieu de 1950$! Appartement de 2chambres haut de gamme de style condo”,”text”:”1650$/mois pendant 12mois au lieu de 1950$! Appartement de 2chambres haut de gamme de style condo”}}”>$1650/month for 12 months instead of $150! Luxury 2 bedroom condo style apartmentwe read on a recent online announcement of a 5½ for rent in the property.

Impressive amounts that will make the tenants of 90 Crépeau and 95 Deguire fear the worst, once the renovations are complete.

$, 1400$ de loyer, s’exclame Youssef. Ils veulent que les locataires quittent pour augmenter les loyers. En attendant, soutient-il, ils ne font aucune réparation.”,”text”:”Les gens ne sont pas capables de payer 1200$, 1400$ de loyer, s’exclame Youssef. Ils veulent que les locataires quittent pour augmenter les loyers. En attendant, soutient-il, ils ne font aucune réparation.”}}”>People can’t afford to pay $1,200 or $1,400 in rent, Youssef exclaims. They want tenants to leave to raise rents. In the meantime, he says, they are not making any repairs.

An empty apartment.

An empty apartment on boulevard Deguire 95 95

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Maria Vasquez, general manager of the housing committee of Saint-Laurent, who could have seen the pressure exerted by Topo immobilier at the time, now tries to accompany the tenants of these two towers to explain their rights and possible remedies. Administrative Housing Tribunal.

In case of a problem of major works and disguised eviction, we try to inform the tenant as clearly as possible. But some accept the deal, without thinking about the long term.

A quote from Maria Vasquez, Executive Director of the Housing Committee of Saint-Laurent

Service degradation

90 Crépeau and 95 Deguire, until recently owned by Topo Immobilier, have not been maintained for years, according to residents. During our visit we saw dilapidated stairs, broken windows, cracks in the columns of the garage, one of the two elevators of the convict 95 Deguire. Empty apartments in unhealthy condition are abandoned.

But the situation has deteriorated, according to tenants, since the arrival of new owners.

I feel humiliated, stressed, we are under a lot of pressureexclaims Safia, one of 95 Deguire’s tenants. Nothing works in this building since the arrival of the new owner, she says. The water often goes out, so does the electricity, they’ve removed the carpets, the sewers are in the garage. In the past this was not the case, there were problems, but now it is rapidly deteriorating.

Portrait of Safia, in her house.

Safia, resident of 95, boulevard Deguire

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

According to her, this is pressure to encourage residents to leave their apartments as soon as possible.

In April, the elevator in the 4-storey 77-unit building was out of service for two weeks. My elderly neighbor had to climb the stairs on all fourssays Safia.

According to Geneviève Bouchard, a spokeswoman for the municipality, eight complaints have been made about the elevator, the first was received on April 21. Services were not restored until May 4, after a phone call and two visits from city inspectors.

Nazir, 90, receives us in his apartment. He has lived with 95 Deguire for 10 years. He told me he wants to stayexplains Hussein, another resident who is present at the meeting. He can’t move, it’s impossible. It is a great sadness for him to see everyone leave. He adds: He hasn’t been able to actually shower for over a year because the repairs weren’t done.

Nazir is sitting in an armchair in his apartment.

Nazir, resident of 95, boulevard Deguire

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Lawyer Antoine Morneau-Sénéchal, author of the book Residential Rentalsees this way of doing a kind of psychological warfare: \”Si vous restez, ça va être l’enfer\”. Plus les gens quittent, plus ça donne aux propriétaires un rapport de force.”,”text”:”On essaie de décourager les locataires de rester. On leur dit: \”Si vous restez, ça va être l’enfer\”. Plus les gens quittent, plus ça donne aux propriétaires un rapport de force.”}}”>We try to discourage tenants from staying. They are told: “If you stay, it will be hell”. The more people leave, the more it gives the owners a balance of power.

If someone temporarily leaves for work, it is not true that the owner can put the rents at a staggering amount, he wants to point out. Yes, there will be a rent increase, but it will be governed by regulations and the tenant can object.

No pressure exerted, according to a building manager

We contacted Henry Zavriyev for an interview. He referred us to David Mimoun, project manager of his company. And Mr Mimoun is categorical: work had to be done in both buildings.

pages, nous explique-t-il. Ils n’étaient pas du tout entretenus.”,”text”:”Lorsque nous avons fait l’acquisition des immeubles, on a reçu le carnet d’infraction de la Ville qui faisait plus de 50pages, nous explique-t-il. Ils n’étaient pas du tout entretenus.”}}”>When we bought the buildings, we received the city’s trespass book, which was more than 50 pages, he explains. They were not maintained at all.

According to Mimoun, approximately $20 million has been budgeted for the works, and is estimated to last 10 months. We will start with the small jobs that do not require a permit.he adds to explain that the carpets on all floors have been removed.

As for the elevator that was blocked for two weeks at Deguire 95, Mr. Mimoun explains that the building’s drains were completely clogged and water was coming up in the elevator shaft. So the plumbing problem had to be repaired beforehand, which took time.

For the rest, he refutes any pressure exerted on the tenants. That’s how the world feels, and that’s normal. But we have specifications for the repairs to be done with deadlines to be met. We are in a rather delicate situation.

He says very clearly to give the tenants the two options: Is [on leur donne] the announcement of a major renovation, or we offer them a transaction, an amicable termination of the lease, and then it is their choice, their decision

If the tenant chooses to stay, he explains to him that he can return to their accommodation and pay the same price as they pay today† However, everything can change if the lease is extended.

We send the renewal notice, followed by the rent increase, explains David Mimoun. After that, the tenant accepts or refuses, it is his decision. And we, for our part, will have all the necessary evidence to justify this increase, and ultimately the Administrative Housing Tribunal will have the final say.

When asked about the ambitions to convert the two buildings into high-end condo-style apartments, as announced for 70 Crépeau, he replied: Even if it means we’re in the making, we’re going to do great work, hard work

A broken window in the garage at 90, rue Crépeau.

A broken window in the garage at 90, rue Crépeau

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

A repeating owner strategy

Henry Zavriyev is well known to housing commissions in Montreal.

It rages all over Montreal, on the Plateau, in Pointe-Saint-Charles, in Ville-Marie, in Saint-Laurent… supports Gaétan Roberge, from the Housing Committee of Ville-Marie. He buys buildings of a certain age, with a certain potential and whose rents are relatively low.

Gaétan Roberge accompanied the seniors of the RPA du Mont-Carmel. h du matin.”,”text”:”C’est des pratiques d’intimidation. Des huissiers se sont présentés aux portes des personnes âgées à 7h du matin.”}}”>These are bullying practices. At 07:00 the bailiffs were at the gates of the elderly.

He also remembers what happened at 2421-2439 De Maisonneuve, buildings bought by Henry Zavriyev in 2019. : \”Je vais devoir rénover, vous allez devoir quitter\”. Il commence à offrir des montants d’argent. À la longue, quand la moitié a cédé, on commence les travaux, ça fait du bruit, c’est le vacarme.”,”text”:”C’est toujours la même stratégie. Il fait l’acquisition de l’immeuble, ils vont voir les gens un par un, et leur disent: \”Je vais devoir rénover, vous allez devoir quitter\”. Il commence à offrir des montants d’argent. À la longue, quand la moitié a cédé, on commence les travaux, ça fait du bruit, c’est le vacarme.”}}”>It’s always the same strategy. He acquires the building, they go to the people one by one and say: “I have to renovate, you have to leave”. He starts to offer money. In the long run, when half has relented, we start the work, it makes noise, it is commotion.

IX et sur la rue Bélanger dont le bloc avait été racheté en mars 2022 par Gestion Roxbury, entreprise rattachée à Henry Zavriyev”,”text”:”J’ai récemment eu à accompagner des locataires sur le boulevard PieIX et sur la rue Bélanger dont le bloc avait été racheté en mars 2022 par Gestion Roxbury, entreprise rattachée à Henry Zavriyev”}}”>I recently had to escort tenants on boulevard Pie IX and rue Bélanger, whose block was bought in March 2022 by Gestion Roxbury, a company affiliated with Henry Zavriyevsays Céline Camus, project manager at the Office Info Logement in Saint-Michel.

The practices are questionable to say the least, she says. The landlord’s negotiator, David Mimoun, presents himself to the tenants almost the day after the purchase to have the most vulnerable tenants sign agreements so that they leave with insistence and false information, such as major works.

These two cases have been the subject of media articles.

With the collaboration of Daniel Boily

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