Residents of the Talbot apartments — a set of heritage low-rises at 1325, 1351 and 1365 Bayview Ave. — were recently given eviction notices that said they would have to leave their homes by Aug. 31, so the owners could renovate the units and improve the buildings’ infrastructure.
“It’s a big project to carry out,” said Ward 26 Councillor John Parker. “The owners have decided it’s best carried out with empty buildings.”
Leaside Property Owners Association vice president Carol Burtin Fripp said it’s unusual for landlords to force an apartment’s tenants to vacate their units for renovations adding that at least half of the units are empty.
“There’s no reason work couldn’t be done on those apartments first,” she said. “Then people could move within the complex while their own apartments were being done.”
Parker said the landlords are allowed to conduct the renovations, which include heating, plumbing and electrical system upgrades that have not been carried out since the apartments first opened.
“We want the buildings maintained,” he said. “Sometimes this means there’s some inconvenience for residents as the work is carried out, just like every once in awhile you have to shut down a street in order to repave it.”
The tenants are protected throughout the process, he said.
“The landlord has to help them find a temporary place to live while the renovations are going on,” Parker said. “When the renovations are over the landlord has to assist them in moving back in.”
Tenants may also choose to sell their leases to the landlords instead of moving back, but the landlords can’t force them to, he said, and their rental rates are protected by Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act.
“All of the options are in the hands of the tenants,” Parker said. “So far the landlord appears to be proceeding fully within the applicable legislation and regulations.”
Constructed in 1939 by Leaside’s former mayor Henry Howard Talbot, the apartments were famously the site of a lengthy battle that ended with the city forbidding their demolition in 2010.
The Talbot apartments are owned by the Kelvingrove Investment Corporation, a public-sector pension fund based in Winnipeg. The Town Crier was unable to contact their representatives for comment.
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