The damage after a fire at a Dartmouth apartment this week is so severe most tenants will not be able to return for months, according to the building's management.

Several tenants at 249 Windmill Rd. were told Tuesday night they must have all of their belongings out by Thursday afternoon so the restoration work can begin as soon as possible.

But that's creating problems for some who say the deadline is too tight and they need more time to find a place to put their belongings.

A total of 52 units at the Windmill Road apartment building need to be gutted. Those without tenant insurance, such as Artie Fenton, are now trying to figure out where to go.

Fenton said he feels he and the other tenants are being treated unfairly.

"It was our home, what else do we do? If your home is taken away from you, what else are you going to do? You got to go," he said.

Fenton said the Red Cross has helped him purchase toothpaste and other items, but he's at a loss about what to do next.

"There is no plan. Just get out, no plan," he said.

In response, building management has suggested that tenants rent storage lockers in the meantime.

CBC News reached a woman who said she was the manager of WM Apartments but she refused to give her name.

She said smoke and water damage to the 52 units on the third, fifth and sixth floors have made those units unlivable. She said she wants the tenants to have their furniture out by Thursday afternoon.

Fenton said affected tenants are being told they'll receive a percentage of their rent from this month back, as well as damage deposits.