Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

The mayor of Montreal invites other boroughs to ban the conversion of private seniors' residences into housing, while the Minister of Seniors prepares an announcement.

Closing another RPA causes a shockwave

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The owner of the Résidence du Jardin Botanique intends to convert the 150-unit building into rental housing without services in the fall of 2024.

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The news of the closure, in a few months, of the Résidence du Jardin Botanique, in eastern Montreal, startled several people who live there on Wednesday morning.

Where are the rest of us going to go? Where are we going to go? That doesn't make any sense, said a man we met at the entrance to the private seniors' residence (RPA).

A lady in a wheelchair was worried about ending up on the street. I'm 71, are we going to be on the street? I don't know.

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Sixty-two residents in RPA and 40 in intermediate resources at the Résidence du Jardin Botanique must be rehoused by fall 2024.

On site, an information meeting was organized, in the presence of the CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'île-de-Montréal, to officially inform residents that they would have to move by the end of the summer next.

In total, more than 100 seniors, including 62 residents in RPA as well as 40 residents in intermediate resources, will have to be rehoused under the supervision of the CIUSSS.

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Contacted earlier this week by Radio-Canada, the owner of the residence, Kevin Hazout, explained that he had to resign himself to it due to the lack of staff and the renewal of his mortgage loan, threatened by rising interest rates.

We discussed with several other financial institutions […] we even tried to sell it [the RPA] on several occasions, he said .

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Kevin Hazout, president of the Black Ridge real estate group, purchased the Résidence du Jardin Botanique in 2021.

A closure which is added to the 500 RPA closures that have occurred over the last five years and which illustrates the shortcomings of the RPA business model, which houses more than 136,000 seniors in Quebec.

At the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) caucus, the Minister responsible for Seniors, Sonia Bélanger, promised an announcement shortly.

This is a situation that is extremely worrying, we need to continue working with our RPAs, even if, at a given moment, there is a limit to what the government can invest, reacted the minister. We are in discussion for a much more structuring measure which will perpetuate the business model.

The CEO of the Regroupement québécois des residences pour seniors (RQRA) , Marc Fortin, says he is encouraged.

Ms. Bélanger understands the situation well, but the government machine must follow, it takes time and we must make changes to the level of care, bring back investors, he said on ICI RDI. /p>

During the interview with the owner of the RPA earlier this week, the latter mentioned that he intended to convert the building, which already has 44 tenants without any services, in rental housing.

The goal is to have affordable housing, not to make major renovations, he explained. They're mostly two and a half and three and a half […] around $1000, $1100, and we plan to leave them at that level.

The problem is that the borough of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie is one of those which adopted modifications to their zoning by-law in the fall of 2022 prohibiting conversions from RPA to another type of dwelling.

Called to react, the mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, does not intend to accommodate RPA owners.

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The mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante. (Archive photo)

I hope that all the boroughs will adopt this regulation. I think we must do everything we can to try to protect our seniors, declared the mayor.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the owner clarified in writing that no new tenant [without services] will be admitted until the future use of the building is clarified following our discussions with the borough.

The latter faces a fine of $2,000 per day from the borough of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie.

Kevin Moïse Hazout is President of the Black Ridge Real Estate Group, whose goal is to maximize the value of our real estate holdings and generate solid returns for our investors.

The latter has made the headlines a few times in recent years, notably in cases of rent increases.

For the president of the Quebec Association for the Defense of the Rights of Retired and Pre-retired Persons (AQDR), Pierre Lynch, there is an urgent need to act.

25% of the homeless are seniors, it's no longer one to midnight, it's five past midnight, he says.

At the Quebec Liberal Party, the official opposition spokesperson for seniors and caregivers, Linda Caron, does not comment on the the idea of ​​a moratorium on conversions of RPA into rental housing. We must consult the players in the field, I proposed a major consultation last year, she said.

With the collaboration of Karine Bastien and Jean-Philippe Hughes

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