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NDG tenants upset by renovations kicking them out of indoor parking garage

Tenants of an apartment building in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce are upset that major renovations will take them away from their underground car park for several months.

The 300+ unit building is near Sherbrooke Street West and Cavendish Boulevard where parking can be hard to find at the best of times.

“It’s frustrating,” said tenant Melissa Gelfand.

She and her neighbors have all grown accustomed to the hassle of major renovations, but say the next level doesn’t sit well.

The renovations will require cars to be cleared from the underground parking garage, which they say will force more than 100 vehicles to be relocated.

Tenants like Evylne Budkewitsc – who has lived in the building for more than 20 years – are not sure where they will go.

“There are so many cars and NDG is a terrible area to find parking, in addition to the winter, with all the snow storms that we get, we’re all going to be fighting for a spot in the whole area,” she said.

The garage is expected to remain closed for at least six months beginning February 6 and renters will be compensated monthly.

In a letter to tenants, the building’s owners said they could not delay the renovation.

There are also concerns about planned rent increases of more than 11 percent. The owners said they used the Quebec Administrative Housing Tribunal’s calculation system to account for major work in 2022.

“We completed over $6,500,000 in major work in 2022 including doors and windows, building insulation, siding and roofing. In addition, other factors taken into account in the calculation are the fluctuations in municipal taxes, school taxes, insurance and the increase in natural gas,” wrote Danny Brouillard, general manager of Groupe Laberge, in an email to CTV News.

Gelfand said she is aware that inflation is pushing up prices, but said “tenants are suffering”.

Martin Messier, president of the Quebec Landlords Association, said 2022 was a particularly expensive year.

“I’ve seen a lot of buildings that go up four, six percent — 17 percent in some cases — where you mix insurance increases, tax increases, and major repairs,” Messier said.

He added that renters should check with their landlords to understand the numbers.

Meanwhile, housing advocates also say they can help.

“Cohabitations are there to support tenants and verify whether or not the rent increase is abusive,” said Catherine Lussier, a Montreal-based community organizer at FRAPRU, a housing rights group.

With renovations to their garage starting next week, tenants are still hoping for some last-minute flexibility.

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