No-one can deny that private investors are probably not interested in building rental units without being forced to anticipate much lower rents, while the growth of rental rates has not followed the costs of construction in Québec.
We recently had the opportunity of meeting with housing experts from the three major political parties here in Québec to try and make them aware of the improvements that must be made to the existing residential housing system.
We still believe that rents should increasingly evolve in a free market system, a formula that would foster improvement in the current private residential industry, and lead to new units that would favour tenants. We realize that rents in Québec are still among the lowest in Canada.
During our meetings, we informed officials that it would be better to come to the assistance of disadvantaged tenants by helping them even more financially so they can obtain suitable dwellings, while the HLM formula should only be used for very specific cases. By keeping rents as low as possible for everyone, we are putting the residential real estate rental market in jeopardy in addition to hindering all tenants.
We discussed irritants that landlords must still go put up with, such as the delays at the Régie du logement, which are very long and which cause prejudice to landlords. The Régie added some new régisseurs, but this has not been enough. Lease ceding must be dealt with again as some tenants have discovered a wonderful way of getting rich at the expense of the landlord. Also, there is procedural abuse, specifically with regard to lease retraction rights, while some tenants have found a great way of not paying rent and getting more time before being evicted for non payment of rent. These situations must be corrected without delay.
Finally, we believe that the poltiical parties must make it a priority to give private investors the desire to become involved again by deregulating the housing sector as much as possible – a winning formula for all citizens. We firmly believe that tenants would be better off with a market-drive dynamic that would be free of all State intervention.