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The worst decision possible

The worst decision possible

We are living in inflationary times these days. All products and services are becoming significantly more expensive. Nevertheless, tenant groups and associations believe that rental property owners can magically maintain their rents at the same price.
According to their theory, landlords should provide for the well-being of the poorest in society by artificially or even inadequately and harmfully keeping the rental price as low as possible.

How to explain that, in a context of housing scarcity with rising prices, the market offers relatively few new constructions?
The occupancy rate of housing remains low, and the number of housing starts is also low.

Several factors explain this contradiction.
Among these, we find different legislative and regulatory impediments that owners must go through in order to carry out their project.
Then there is also undue pressure from society: for many, rental property owners should not have profitability objectives, but they should have the mission to keep rents low while offering an immaculate, well-maintained and up-to-date building.

To a rental property owner, it is disconcerting to see such expectations in terms of the means at his disposal.

Naturally, the combination of this vision and the electoral tendencies of different governments makes rental property owners fear the worst when it comes to making a decision.

For instance, the recent announcement of a review of landlord legislation raises fears that the worst decision will be made: i.e. to add protections that accentuate even more the imbalance that exists in favour of tenants.

This imbalance is already troubling for many rental property owners. As a society, we need to realize that the equilibrium must be restored in order to attract investors.

Helping the poorest is indeed an important and virtuous choice for a society. It must be backed up by the entire community however. Rental property owners contribute their fair share, as do all of their taxes. Asking them to contribute beyond their means and in addition to these is unfair.

In this context, legislation to increase their obligations would be the worst decision possible.

About the author

Martin A. Messier

Me Martin A. Messier a fait ses études au Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf avant de continuer ses études en droit à l'Université de Montréal. Il est membre du Barreau du Québec depuis 1992, et œuvre auprès des propriétaires de logements locatifs depuis 1993.

Il est entre autres président de l'Association des propriétaires du Québec, propriétaire d'une compagnie de gestion immobilière. Il est fréquemment invité comme conférencier dans le cadre de conférences et de séminaires juridiques et de gestion portant sur le louage immobilier.

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