Statement by Councillor Wong-Tam on the 650 Parliament Motion to Dispose of Tenant Contents
I am disturbed to learn that the Landlord for 650 Parliament Street has brought a new motion to the courts that could significant impact tenant belongings.
Today, I learned through Strosberg Sasso Sutts and Charney Lawyers, counsel for 650 Parliament tenants through the ongoing class action lawsuit, that the Landlord has requested a motion asking the court permission to dispose of tenant belongings that are not claimed by tenants.
Earlier this year, we helped facilitate a meeting between 650 Parliament tenants and their counsel regarding a motion from the landlord to temporarily store tenant contents in the parking garage of 650 Parliament Street. The intent of the landlord's motion was to allow restoration work to move more quickly by removing tenant contents from the individual apartments to enable this work.
Tenants were understandably upset at this news, especially that the Landlord had packed their belongings up without permission. Tenants reluctantly agreed on the grounds that this storage plan would allow for the smooth return of both tenants and their belongings to their units this year. One thing was made abundantly clear by tenants: they did not consent to allow the Landlord to throw out their belongings.
To now hear that the Landlord is asking to do just that is disheartening. Specifically, their request, according to class counsel, is to get the court's permission to ask tenants "remove their contents from the building and store them at their own expense or lose them."
It is not 650 Parliament tenants' fault that this fire occurred and has displaced them for over a year. It is also not the tenants' fault that their Landlord's plan to store the contents of units in the basement has not worked out to the satisfaction of the Landlord. Should tenant belongings need to be moved from the basement of 650 Parliament, the Landlord should either return these items to refurbished units or they should work with tenants and their counsel to provide an alternative storage plan, at the Landlord's expense.
I strongly urge the 650 Parliament Landlord to not proceed with this motion.
Update from Strosberg Sasso Sutts and Charney Lawyers on Parliament Street Fire Class Action
The Landlord is bringing a new motion to amend the previous order of the court regarding the removal and storage of the contents from the units.
The original order of the court required the Landlord to continue to store the contents until re-occupancy of the units, or facilitate moving the contents to another location of the tenants’ choice.
The Landlord’s new motion record, states the following, among other things:
- The basement storage area is now full with the contents of the units from the top 10 floors of the building;
- Very few tenants have attended to view their contents;
- The tenants who viewed their contents have generally only removed a small number of belongings;
- The restoration work on the building is at a standstill because the garage is full and they are unable to remove the contents from the other units; and
- The Office of the Fire Marshal’s report indicates that the fire was toxic and as a result, the contents are contaminated and, ought to be disposed of, if they are not claimed.
Ultimately, the Landlord is asking the court to change the order of the court that required them to continue to store the contents of the units until the building is reoccupied. The Landlord is asking the court’s permission to permit it to dispose of any contents that have not been removed once tenants have been given an opportunity to remove the contents from the building. In other words, the Landlord is now seeking an order that the tenants must remove their contents from the building and store them at their own expense or lose them.
The hearing will take place on October 15, 2019 at 10:00 am (the courtroom will be posted on the website closer to the time of the motion).
The Lawyers from Strosberg Sasso Sutts and Charney Lawyers will hold a town hall meeting on Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ontario Bar Association Conference Centre, 20 Toronto St., Suite 200, to discuss the Landlord’s motion.
Please attend the town hall meeting to have the motion explained in detail and to have your questions answered.
Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP & Charney Lawyers PC
www.strosbergco.com || www.charneylawyers.com
Next update: October 15, 2019