TORONTO -- Tenants at the Lenmore Court apartment buildings in Scarborough are nervous and devastated after learning their new landlord is proposing to build a nine-storey condo where three affordable apartment buildings now stand.

“To have it go forth right in the middle of a pandemic—you couldn’t wait another year or two? What’s the rush,” said Karen Azucar who has rented a two-bedroom apartment at the building near Kingston Road and Birchcliff Avenue for the past five years.

Azucar and about 30of her neighbours received a notice in September from Altree Developments updating them on the proposal and their options, which includes rental replacement units at another one of its proposed developments further east on Kingston Road where there is currently a Days Inn hotel. That proposal is still pending the city’s approval and tenants worry it won’t be ready in time.

“While they build this development, we have to find new places to live, they told us it’s up to us and they will only get three months rent and moving costs,” said Azucar, who currently pays approximately $1,100 a month for her apartment.

“We’re going to have to pay maybe double what we pay now – I also have a salon I have to pay rent on and that’s why living here is very convenient, but we don’t if we’re going to remain open.”

Altree Developments submitted its proposal to the city earlier this month, which includes a mixed-used building and 264 units. There are currently 32 units among the existing three apartment buildings.

“I don’t think it’s responsible or reasonable for tenants to hear about being displaced before a single person in this neighborhood is being told this development is coming, we haven’t been consulted,” said Anna Dewar Gully with the BirchCliff Community Organization, which has been resurrected in light of the proposal.

“We’re going to get organized about the neighbourhoods concerns – first and foremost protecting our neighbours and we want to make sure people just don’t get moved out of our neighbourghood becayuse there are people enjoying low rents in our neighbourghood.”

The Kingston Road corridor is intensifying with new condo developments. Ward 20 Councillor Gary Crawford says while development can’t be stopped, it can still be shaped.

“This will change as we go through easily a two-year process,” said Crawford, who added the city has policies in place to protect existing tenants. “They have to be provided the appropriate similar same size apartment same rent at another location”

Tenants have been told the process could take at least two and a half years.

Altree Developemts told CTV News Toronto that the development for the site is nothing more than a proposal at this point and there are no timelines for when tenants will have to move out. Altree adds that its intention is not to displace residents, rather have the rental replacement units available—whether it’s a new development or another location – before the apartment buildings are demolished.

The city has yet to review the application and there will be public consultation as part of the decision process.