In an effort to build social and affordable housing, Montreal Mayor, Valerie Plante announced at a news conference, that it will be exercising its rights of first refusal to buy properties.
“We know the housing shortage has hit Montreal hard and the lack of social housing is being cruelly felt by Montrealers in need,” Plante said in a press release.
The city’s administration plans to have 12,000 affordable housing units by 2021.
The city will have 60 days after a property is listed for sale to express interest in buying the property at its market value.
Plante emphasized that this process is not expropration, which is when the state takes property for public use, because the city is only applying this process to properties that are already for sale.
According to a press release from the city, it is looking at 300 properties in boroughs that have a need for affordable social housing such as Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, Le Sud-Ouest, Verdun, Ville-Marie, and Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension.
In a tweet, Plante explained that the city of Montreal is responding to the needs of Montrealers in matters pertaining to housing.
Notre administration se dote d'un nouvel outil pour répondre aux besoins des Montréalais.e.s en matière de logements! Montréal est la 1re Ville au Québec à se munir d’un droit de préemption à des fins de logements sociaux et communautaires: https://t.co/2a59ZcDjxT (1/3) #polmtl pic.twitter.com/4vXQmaC2hI
— Valérie Plante (@Val_Plante) February 17, 2020
Properties in Parc-Extension, near the Université de Montreal’s new MIL campus were specifically mentioned. Anti-gentrification activists have claimed that since construction on the new campus began, rent has been rising.
Last September, protesters disrupted the opening celebrations of the university’s new campus.
“For many tenants, rent hikes, repossessions, renovictions and harassment have become all-too common. The arrival of the Campus MIL is contributing to the gentrification of Parc-Extension and threatening the social fabric of the neighbourhood,” said Amy Darwish, a community organizer from the Comité d’Action de Parc-Extension (CAPE), said in a press release, at the time.
CAPE is an organization working on improving the living conditions of residents in Parc-Extension.
With files from CBC News, Sean Henry, and The Link Newspaper