The tenant evicted from a low-income seniors building in Lasalle, and forcibly removed as we went to press last week, asked the Court of Quebec for permission to appeal Monday, thanks to the efforts of attorney David Ghavitian.
“It’s on the eve of the holidays and they’re putting my client on the street,” said Ghavitian. “My client never even got an opportunity to present proof of payment.”
Although he’s only been on the case for less than a week, Ghavitian has already submitted an eight-page brief to the court outlining several questions about the judgement. Key among these is why the case wasn’t dropped when the tenant paid the amount due in full, including the contested $5 parking fee that served as the original grounds for eviction.
The Suburban brought the same questions directly to three OMHM leaders: directeur general Denis Quirion, directeur general adjoint a l’exploitation Michel Perreault and communications director Louise Hébert on Monday morning. All three stand behind the OMHM decision to evict this particular tenant, despite the person’s good faith in paying rent by money order or bank draft 38 times.
“This tenant had a history of paying late,” said Perreault. “Every time that happens, we have to make phone calls and send letters. Do you know how much time we have to spend in these situations?”
Yet no phone call appears in this file to ask the tenant to replace a crucial document. A Caisse Populaire money order was dated May 31, 2011 and cashed by the OMHM at the Banque Nationale on June 23. This payment, which doesn’t appear on the tenant’s computerized account, covers the entire amount specified in the rental board claim printed as part of last week’s story. Hébert and Perreault said they couldn’t find any record of this payment so The Suburban forwarded a copy of the receipt by email.
The file doesn’t indicate how the document reached the OMHM, who handled it, and whether employees held it for an unspecified amount of time before depositing it.
Perreault also said that tenants are taken to the rental board as soon as payments are delayed for any reason, but no one can do so without approval from superiors. In this case, Patrizia Del Vecchio would have sought permission from Christian Martel and Antonio Requena.
According to Quirion, the OMHM evicts tenants who have been brought to the rental board multiple times. “There’s a process we have to follow to be equitable to everyone,” he said. “There are 20,000 people waiting for a spot in these buildings, so if we have to evict 100 people or so a year, it’s reasonable.”
Meanwhile, the tenant in question faces a $1,700 moving and furniture storage bill that keeps growing daily and the frustration of looking for an apartment on a limited pension.
(This article appeared in the Suburban city edition yesterday.)