Octogenarian avoids eviction from Montreal home of 35 years

An 82-year-old photographer who has lived in the same Rosemont-Petite-Patrie apartment for 35 years will be able to stay a little longer, having successfully fought an eviction notice.

But housing group warns eviction reprieve may be short lived

Photographer Pierino Di Tonno's apartment is full of photos and negatives that chronicle Montreal's Italian community. (Radio-Canada)

An 82-year-old photographer who has been living in the same Rosemont-Petite-Patrie apartment for 35 years will be able to stay a little longer, having successfully fought an eviction notice. 

Pierino Di Tonno was served with the notice during a hospital stay in January. The owner of his building, a trust which also owns the Milano grocery store on St-Laurent Boulevard, says it wants to subdivide the property.

Di Tonno has been living in the apartment since 1981 and challenged the eviction notice with the help of the Comité logement de la Petite-Patrie, a local tenants' advocacy group. 

In a decision handed down earlier this month, Quebec's housing authority, the Régie du logement, ruled the notice targeting Di Tonno was invalid. 

A trust in the name Angelina Zaurrini, which was seeking Di Tonno's eviction, had failed to respect rules governing the timelines of evictions, the Régie said in its decision.

It also found that the person who signed the notice — Mario Zaurrini — was not authorized to speak on behalf of the trust. 

While the Comité logement de la Petite-Patrie celebrated the ruling, they also cautioned the reprieve may be short lived. They said the Angelina Zaurrini trust has already signaled its intention to issue another eviction notice next year.

The housing group asked its supporters to continue its boycott of Milano, launched as part of its campaign to spare Di Tonno and two other tenants in the building from being evicted.