Moving?

My life is so screwed up I haven’t even allowed myself the luxury of writing in this journal lest it distract from the survival issues I’m living with on a day-to-day basis. But it’s Friday, I’m going to the Barfly’s post-renovation party tonight, and then going to see the mighty Motorhead tomorrow night. I may be living in relative obscurity in lower Westmount for 3 weeks, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss out on any of the weekend’s festivities.

Time on my own and out of my neighbourhood has actually done me a world of good, even if I’ve had a cold most of the time. I’ve lived in my current apartment for 9 years, and in the same building for 13. My two cats have lived here all of their 12 years. Most people who’ve seen the building and know the ‘hood know I live in a prime location. I’ve called it an oasis on the Main, though I don’t know if “oasis” is the right word. Fact is, if you were to be magically transported to my back balcony on a mid-summer’s day you would be amazed to know you were on St. Laurent. It’s out of the way, set back maybe 20 yards from the street. We’ve got this beautiful back courtyard with trees, great neighbours, and the perfect place for city cats to hang out. I’m 30 seconds away from my favourite local bar (Barfly), within 20 minutes walking distance of at least 8 live music venues, and have many good friends who live close by. It’s really the perfect place for me to live. Has been for 13 years.

It may not be for longer. My landlord has made some of us an offer, and while it’s an offer I would normally refuse point-blank, I may at least have to negotiate with him. And this is weighing heavily on my mind. Part of me really wants to leave anyway. I’ve been in a rut for the last 3 years and have let the place get to state where it’s barely livable. I’m living in a state I don’t like living in. But another part of me just loves this spot, loves living in this out of the way place on the Main and in one of the best urban neighbourhoods on the world. I’d miss it dearly. Yet the amount the landlord is offering me is a joke. I’m paying a 1995 rent in 2005 in this great neighbourhood, where the rents have got out of control and are no longer viable to the very people who made it the place it is in the first place, and this guy is offering us 4,000 bucks to leave. Most who have experience with this have said accept nothing less that 10,000. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t. But there’s nothing normal about the circumstances I find myself in now. This has been my April dilemma. It’s a critical moment.

Thankfully, I live in a province that has the most progressive tenant’s rights legislation in Canada. Because this landlord is truly despicable swine. Having done absolutely no work in any of our flats this year, he’s asking for a $200 a month increase across the board. That amounts to nearly 60%. He’ll wind up getting at most 2 percent, must know that by now, yet he still insists we go through the Regie. He did the same thing last year and lost. I can’t hear the Dead Kennedys “Let’s Lynch Landlord” without thinking about him and his “consortium”. Bastards.

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3 thoughts on “Moving?

  1. John, I’d strongly suggest you fight the bastard. I’m sure you know the limited number of circumstances under which he can legally kick you out, but you should get in touch with the Regie de Logement ASAP and see what you can do to get them behind you. You’ve got a good deal? Tough fucking shit for this guy– he has the right to raise the rent by a certain percentage every year and that’s his limit, and if he didn’t take it, it’s his own fault for being a bad businessman and not knowing how the law works. Don’t let him force you out– you’ve made it clear to me how much that spot means to you, and if you leave it, it should be because you choose to, and not because some other circumstances put pressure on you to go.

    1. Oops.

      Just reread what you wrote about the landlord WANTING to go through the Regie. Good stuff. I appreciate it when landlords do that because they always seem to think they’re in the right and rarely ever are.

      Ps. Have fun at Motorhead!

  2. Good god.

    Good god, John. This is horrible. Yeah, no one should accept the measly $4000 to move — that’s merely 2 and a half to four month’s rent on the Plateau now, for a goodish apartment. And $10 000, that’s only half a year’s rent, if you don’t spend it on anything else. Unless you want to change neighbourhoods completely or live in a huge, soulless apartment building where a lot of elderly bachelors seem to end up . Believe me, I’ve been looking for a new apartment in this neighbourhood.

    Find a new apartment before you even think of accepting! Or fight him. Maybe he’ll get fed up and sell the place to someone else? I guess the tenants can’t get together and buy the whole thing from him? Somehow? Turn it into a co-op maybe…but that would take a lot of work. Would be worth it though.

    Sorry, I’m in a bit of a huff, as I do love your apartment even though it’s a money pit with no sink in the bathroom. The landlord’s bought something that’ll bankrupt him if he tries to fix it without exorbitant rent, quite honestly.

    Good luck. And whatever you do, don’t move so far away that you won’t see your friends often enough.

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