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How to solve various problems between tenants and rental housing owners? With a security deposit!

Montreal, June 15, 2022 --- The Association des Propriétaires du Québec (APQ) has been calling for several years for the implementation of a security deposit.

As July 1 approaches quickly now, we see more and more rental dwellings left behind dirty or even unsanitary, by their former occupant.
Why then is a security deposit required?

1) To raise the tenants’ awareness of their behaviour in this matter.
Many tenants no longer bother to clean up before moving out; on the contrary, quite a few leave their perishable left-over food on the kitchen counter, or abandon the furniture they no longer want...

If they had a deposit to recover by cleaning up their housing before leaving, the situation would be quite different.

The Association des Propriétaires du Québec (APQ) is of the opinion that the incentive to recover one month’s rent would be sufficient to motivate tenants to take care of their dwelling as they should, before moving out.

2) To reduce financial losses in case of damage.
Some tenants will decide to abandon their belongings and just leave their rental dwellings with damage resulting from an unreasonable use of the premises.

A security deposit will raise awareness among tenants and/or will cover part of the costs borne by the rental housing owners to start the required work/cleaning up, and open against the tenants, at the Administrative Housing Tribunal, a file to try to recover their due.

“We should not forget that it is not only the owners of the rental housing who suffer inconveniences during such neglectful rampage. New tenants who cannot move in suffer just as much damage,” adds the APQ.

3) To reduce financial losses in the event of non-payment of rent.
There are several hasty departures each year and many cases for non-payment of rent.

The difficulty of recovering unpaid amounts of rent from the tenants is so substantial that many landlords will end up assuming the financial losses themselves.

In the absence of an updated rental collection system the landlord could limit his losses with a one month’s rent security deposit.

In 2020-2021 alone, according to the latest TAL annual report, 24,094 claims for non-payment were submitted out of a total of 51,748 cases.

Also, of these, 1123 were due to hasty departures.

4) To secure rentals.
Many tenants will offer to pay a security deposit. They will offer it themselves because for them it is a guarantee of their good faith in cases where the tenant has bad credit for instance, or a credit file that does not exist yet in Quebec, especially for newcomers.

5) More access to domestic animals in the housing.
Many rental housing owners would accept pets if they could be insured with a deposit in case of damage. A deposit reassures the owner about the careful use of the premises because the tenant knows that there will be a financial consequence if the dwelling is damaged.

“All it would take is a small legislative change that would solve many problems. Why refuse such a request that has such a big impact?” says Martin Messier, president of the APQ.

It is time for the landlord-tenant relationship to be examined and modernized. It is through this lack of regulatory updating that particular situations deteriorate.

It is time for a balance to be struck between the rights and obligations of rental housing owners.

“One cannot require from a landlord to put a dwelling back in good condition when someone else is moving in, whereas he has only a theoretical recourse if the previous tenant damaged his dwelling! The inconsistencies of the law have lasted long enough, they must therefore be eliminated!” concludes the APQ.

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Québec Landlords Association

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