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Tenants displaced by 650 Parliament fire expected to move back 'later this fall'

Displaced residents of 650 Parliament St. line up on Aug. 28, 2018, to get temporary access to their units after they were forced out after a fire last week. 680 NEWS/Momin Qureshi

Tenants displaced after a massive fire last August at 650 Parliament St. will have to wait a few more months until they can begin moving back in.

In an update Wednesday, Danny Roth, spokesperson for Wellesley-Parliament Square (WPSQ) management, said re-occupancy is expected to commence “later this fall.”

“Right now the estimate is likely November,” he said, saying work on the building is about 65 per cent complete.

The expected re-occupancy date has been pushed back several times already, frustrating some tenants who have launched a class-action lawsuit.

But Roth maintains building management has done everything possible to accommodate up to 1500 displaced tenants and attempt to expedite the move-in process.

“I would suggest to you that this is the single largest re-housing process the city has ever seen,” he said.

“It is in our best interests to get our tenants back in, get them housed, get back to running a rental building in this city and we are completely aligned with our tenants in the desire to get them back home as quickly as possible. The challenge with that is obvious. The scope of the work has been enormous.”

Roth says the Tenant Assistance Program has paid out roughly $13 million, with over $6 million doled out for hotel accommodation for displaced residents

“No tenant as far as we are aware has been without housing,” he maintained.

Before tenants can move back in, the City of Toronto would have to sign off on a building occupancy permit, and Roth says not all tenants would be allowed to move back on the same date.

When asked if tenants would absorb any of the staggering construction costs through a rent hike, Roth said: “I can assure you that there is no discussion among ownership and management to assess any kind of increase. The focus right now is exclusively and wholly on completing the necessary repair work to allow for re-occupancy.”

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If this isn’t a sign that it’s the end of the world, I don’t know what is.

August 14, 2019 at 4:19 pm

they could have just built a new apartment building with the time it took to repair, this is embarrassing.

August 14, 2019 at 5:15 pm
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