By Katie Perry 
BELLEVILLE — Landlords have stepped up to see if their apartments are an appropriate place to house former residents of the Quinte Bay Bel Marine  retirement residence after it closed on Feb. 28.
The Quinte Region Landlords Association has asked local landlords with available rooms to come forward to help the seniors and disabled people who lived at Bel Marine find a place to stay.
“We’ve been told that there’s approximately 24 residents who need better accommodations,” said Robert Gentile, president of the association.
So far, four landlords have come forward to see if their apartments are suitable for some of the tenants, he said.
“If we can find more suitable, comfortable, spacious accommodations,” Gentile said, “it will buy these residents more time to find spaces in local retirement homes and remain in their own community.”
If accommodations are not found locally, the residents “may be forced to relocate to the Hamilton-Niagara area, where we have been told there are spaces for them.”
Reta Sheppard of the Hastings Housing Resource Centre  said that the former Bel Marine residents require accessible accommodations and will need visits from caregivers from community agencies to assist them.
The closure of the retirement residence at 228 Dundas St. E. came after nearly 10 years of the city and the facility’s owners of going back and forth about building-code violations, according to Ted Marecak, the city’s chief building official.
Concerns include maintenance of the fire-alarm system, fire separations in the building, and fire and shock hazards in the electrical system, he said.
“There were some minimal attempts by the owner to fix some things, but even those things that were attempted to be fixed were not done well or as a permanent solution,” Marecak said. Last month the city gave orders to close the doors for the safety of the residents, he said.
The building is now vacant and there are notices posted on its door saying occupancy is prohibited, Marecak said.
“The fire department has ordered the building be made secure to prevent unauthorized access. At this point, the building is going to sit until such time as somebody comes up with the money to fix it.”
Gentile said the residents were forced out because the building was not properly maintained.
“As landlords who are trying to maintain our buildings properly, and treat our tenants properly, we felt that maybe we could do something to help these individuals.”