Five blocks of apartments on boulevard Jules-Poitras and rue Quenneville are left to their own devices by their owners. As a result, residents have been grappling with safety and sanitation issues for several months.
“In my living room I’m afraid of mice, in my bedroom I’m afraid of bed bugs and in the hallway I’m afraid of strangers. There are people squatting in an apartment on my floor, making noise and smoking marijuana on the balcony. I live in constant fear,” says Louris Almotleq, a resident of 1310 rue Quenneville.
Residents of the buildings located at 1270 and 1310 rue Quenneville as well as at 1275, 1295 and 1315 boulevard Jules-Poitras have been trying for several months to contact their owner, Les Bâtiments Banvest Inc, so that the maintenance of their homes and common areas be carried out.
Accumulation of garbage, bed bugs, elevator out of order and rat infestation are just some of the problems they face on a daily basis.
“I threw out my bed which was infested with bedbugs and I now sleep on my couch,” says Ms. Almotleq. We will be moving next month.”
Since the beginning of the summer, she has noticed that the conditions of the premises have deteriorated and that she was facing sanitation problems. During a site visit, Subway was able to observe that the garage doors remain open at all times and that it is therefore possible to easily enter some of the buildings.
Doors to vacant apartments have been kicked in and it is possible for anyone to enter, leaving residents fearing for their safety.
Until very recently, Koffi Désiré, a resident of 1315, boulevard Jules-Poitras, was a janitor in the five buildings, working for a subcontractor.
According to him, the latter would not have been paid by the owner. “My salary came from the subcontractor’s pocket,” says Mr. Désiré. Since then, the service has been non-existent.
Mr. Désiré has lived in a five and a half since June with his wife and four children and pays $1,400 per month. He and his family also face sanitation issues.
“I see rats in my apartment,” he said. Something has to be done because we no longer feel safe on all fronts. I have been in Saint-Laurent for 12 years. […] I never thought trash could pile up [dans le garage] this way here in Canada.”
At the Saint-Laurent borough council meeting on August 9, five residents came forward to denounce their situation and ask the council to act, with the help of a representative from the ACORN tenants’ union.
“There is water that leaked in my apartment and in eight months it has never been repaired, indicated Mahamat Faikh, resident of 1270, rue Quenneville during the question period. No one feels safe, you need to investigate.”
In response to these questions, Mayor Alan DeSousa clarified that “we will give these addresses to our inspection teams to contact the owner. I don’t have an answer for you today, but we will bring this issue to their attention.”
Mr. Désiré said he was encouraged by this response. “We are starting to open our eyes to our case, he says. But we want to see these detectives. You have to listen to the Immeubles Banvest.”
For her part, the director general of the Saint-Laurent Housing Committee, Maria Vasquez, is worried about the situation and the response of the town hall.
“It was already unsanitary with the previous owner, she laments. There must be a guarantee of results in cases like this, and the City must follow up so that the work is carried out.
A group of residents formed around the tenants’ union ACORN has amassed around fifty signatures as part of a petition they wish to file soon.
A Lasalle building owned by Banvest also faced a similar situation in the spring.
Les Immeubles Banvest Inc. did not respond to our interview requests for this article.