Montreal man, 82, fights eviction from apartment he's lived in for decades

An 82-year-old Montreal man is fighting to stay in the apartment where he has lived for four decades, after returning from a round of stomach cancer treatment and finding his locks had been changed.

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Pierino Di Tonno, who worked as a photographer to the stars in Italy before moving to Canada, took his case Tuesday to the Quebec rental board, where his lawyer questioned the legality of the eviction notice.

Housing activist Martin Blanchard said the real issue at stake is the ease with which seniors are being evicted by landlords who say they are planning renovations.

“There’s no defence of the rights of tenants to stay in their own apartments,” Blanchard said.

Blachard is among those boycotting the grocery store in the building, which is owned by the same landlord.

Cecilia Zaurrini, a spokesperson for the family that owns it, said the landlord’s goal is to make “reasonable” apartments.

“We’re being blasted for doing something amazing,” she said.

Zaurrini also she has “a lot of sympathy” for Di Tonno and that the landlords were willing to “move him and bring him back” after the renovations.

Di Tonno said he’s worried he will end up on the streets. “For me,” he said, “it’s tragedy.”

The decision isn’t expected for months.

With reports from CTV Montreal’s Stephane Giroux and CTV National correspondent Genevieve Beauchemain



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