Authorities are looking into reports of rats, cockroaches, mice and mould in a block of 18 apartment buildings in Montreal’s Parc-Extension neighbourhood, all owned by the same property management firm.
One tenant told CBC that the smell and condition of her apartment is so unbearable that she often spends her days outside, avoiding home.
“Sometimes when I’m cooking, I see cockroaches,” she said.
She’s also spotted a rat twice, and says she is constantly battling with ants, cockroaches and mould.
The tenant agreed to an interview with CBC on the condition of anonymity, because she’s afraid that speaking out could lead to repercussions including the loss of her apartment. For the same reason, CBC News is not publishing her exact address.
“Every time I tell this story, I relive it,” she says.
Her apartment is in a block of 18 buildings near L’Acadie Boulevard in Parc-Extension.
According to municipal assessment records, the buildings are all owned by the same company — Raamco International Properties Canadian Ltd.
She’s lived in her apartment for two years, and pays $590 a month for rent.
While she says she’s asked the building manager to fix up her apartment and address the vermin issue, she says his answer is usually the same.
“‘Give me two weeks. Give me two weeks.’ And then he never comes,” she said.
The only exception, she adds, was when part of her ceiling collapsed due to water damage. After a phone call to the borough, she says the repairs were done.
The tenant is one of about 30 individuals who’ve reached out to the local Parc-Extension Action Committee (CAPE) for advice.
“In the past two years we’ve received a lot of people from these buildings at my office. Mainly complaining about mice, cockroaches or repairs,” says André Trépanier, a member of CAPE.
“Recently it’s more the people are very scared about the rats… It is a very dangerous animal. And people are scared.”
Trépanier has been advising tenants about their rights.
He says some have gone so far as to take their cases before Quebec’s rental board.
In one case, the administrative judge found that the on-site representative of Raamco International Properties had harrassed the tenant, and failed to properly maintain the apartment.
“The evidence shows that the landlord systemically violated [the tenants’ rights] and only maintained the dwelling when forced to do so,” Judge François Leblanc wrote in his decision.
He ordered Raamco International Properties to pay the tenant more than $4,000.
Trépanier adds that there are two other cases currently before the rental board concerning the same company.
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