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Upcoming provincial election campaign: Housing, an issue that must attract attention

Upcoming provincial election campaign: Housing, an issue that must attract attention

Election campaign rhymes with demands for change and “grocery list”.
The Association des Propriétaires du Québec (APQ) also draws up a list of situations that need to be changed and that political parties from all walks of life should pay attention to.

• Political changes

- Complete reform
Are laws more than 40 years old still relevant? No, it is impossible!
The rights of landlords and tenants need to be reviewed. There is an imbalance between the rights of landlords and tenants, regulations put in place in 1980 do not reflect rental needs anymore. For instance, the rate of increase for major works that was established when interest rates were 15 to 18%, today it is about 3 to 4%.

- Security deposit
A necessity that has been mentioned by several governments but never introduced.
Tenants must be made aware, so that the dwellings are returned clean. They can’t leave items behind that they don't want any more just because they don't want to throw them out.
This deposit could also cover rent paid and limit financial losses.

- Clause G
This famous clause that the owners must complete with the last amount of rent paid. This clause was even tightened in July 2021: indicate the last rent paid and the date of it when no rent has been paid in the twelve months preceding the start of the lease.
According to the APQ, this clause should simply disappear. Rent protection should only be on the tenant and not the dwelling. At the end of the lease, the rent price should no longer be controlled but free at the market price.

• Changes with financial impacts

- Renovation subsidy
According to respondents to an APQ survey, 29.74% have problems getting this work done in order to get the housing back up for rent quickly.
The rental stock is aging, rental housing owners need help to upgrade their buildings.
The condition of the buildings is a concern of the cities, and of Québec. But no initiative is developed to help the private rental market.

- Law R-20
This law is too restrictive. The Government may give respite to small rental housing owners by extending the amendment to this Regulation to all owners of dwellings.
• Allow building owners, regardless of size, to do their work themselves, so that the money can be put into major work and improve the quality of life of the tenants.
• Allow landlords to repair quickly and at lower costs when they suffer from tenants who are rampant or who take advantage of the system to not pay their rent.

-Seizability of government or retirement income
Whether you are a low-income person or a tenant who rents an apartment at $1500 per month, the rights and obligations of tenants are the same: They are all responsible for damages, or sums unpaid by them.
However, a landlord cannot seize the income of a tenant who receives social assistance. The law does not allow that. So when the APQ hears tenants’ associations say that the protections are sufficient and that the landlord only has to open a file at the Administrative Housing Tribunal, we are entitled to ask them to justify their response for these groups of people.

For more than 40 years, many political parties have succeeded one another and it is unfortunate to see that in terms of housing, no government wants to make significant changes.
Yes, housing is a sensitive subject but it is time for the next government to commit to modernizing the rental market during its next mandate!

About the author

Québec Landlords Association

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