Rents in Montreal | No mandatory register, but negligent owners brought to heel

The Plante administration is backing down on its promise to implement a mandatory rent register in Montreal, but wants Quebec to do so and assures that it will better protect tenants by detecting unsanitary housing and punishing negligent landlords.

Rather than setting up its own register, to allow tenants to know the rent paid by the previous occupant, Montreal financially supports the one created by the Vivre en ville organization, even if it is a strictly voluntary tool, said Mayor Valérie Plante at a press conference on Wednesday.

“We are still in favor of a national rent register, which could go even further, but we have a partner, Vivre en Ville, which has set up a tool which meets the same objective,” she explained. , announcing that an amount of $30,000 would be granted to the organization.

Preventive inspections

The mayor particularly insisted on the announcement of the Responsible Owner program, which provides for preventive inspections of buildings with six or more units to flush out those that are poorly maintained by their owners. Inspectors from the housing department and others in the various districts will be responsible for these examinations, with a target of 10,000 visits in 2024.

“Every time we hear the story of a family taken hostage in unsanitary housing or we meet people who are angry at recalcitrant owners who do not take care of their apartment block, we understand the tenants to be angry because we are too,” underlined Plant.

“We want to make owners more accountable. Previously, tenants had the burden of filing a complaint against a landlord. We want to reverse this burden. All inspection results will be publicly available, to help tenants defend their rights. »

Creditors informed

In addition to immediately providing owners with notices of infractions, varying between $500 and $10,000, the City will enter “notices of deterioration” for buildings in poor condition in the land register, which will inform lenders and insurers. of the situation.


Benoit Dorais, responsible for housing on the executive committee

With this registration, we alert the creditors. A building that is deteriorating, the bank doesn’t like that. There will certainly be calls to regularize the situation, otherwise lenders could recall the mortgage, so owners will have to take responsibility.

Benoit Dorais, responsible for housing on the executive committee

At the same time, Mayor Plante revealed that she was in discussions with the Quebec government to increase the amounts of fines handed out to bad owners, “currently insufficient,” she said.

Preventive inspections already began last January: 45 buildings of 100 units or more were visited, and seven of them showed signs of unsanitary conditions, which led to more in-depth inspections, both in common areas and in the apartments.

Too few inspectors, says the opposition

These detailed checks are carried out by 18 inspectors from the central city’s housing department; Montreal hired two additional inspectors as part of this project.

According to the opposition at city hall, this number is largely insufficient for the scale of the task: at least 50 would be needed to inspect the 19,000 buildings of six or more housing units in Montreal, according to Julien Hénault-Ratelle, spokesperson for the Ensemble Montréal party on housing.

“With current resources, it would take 60 years to carry out all the inspections of buildings with six units or more, which is unacceptable,” he denounces, despite the fact that the administration has explained that it will target buildings and the sectors most at risk.

He also deplores the administration’s abandonment of its “flagship promise” to set up a mandatory lease register, contenting itself with granting $30,000 to Vivre en Ville, “pinottes”, says Mr. Hénault-Ratelle , while the rise in rents reaches record levels.

Mayor Plante counters that, due to legal problems, the City could not have created such a register without legislative changes from the Quebec government, which could have taken a long time.

A national register?

Moreover, the director of housing at Vivre en ville, Adam Mongrain, welcomed the support of the Montreal administration, which could lead, he hopes, to the “institutionalization” of the register by the government of Quebec.

“The partnership with the City of Montreal reinforces the message to the Quebec government so that the mandatory register comes to life,” he said. Our goal from the beginning has been for the government to take control. We present this as a gift to the government, which said in 2022 that such a register was too expensive. »

The registry, set up since 2022 thanks to a $2.7 million grant from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), currently has 20,000 registrations for the entire province.

Furthermore, when asked about the 37% drop in the number of housing starts in Montreal in 2023, according to CMHC data, Mayor Valérie Plante mentioned that the City would examine what more it can do to reverse the trend.

“But I would like to know what we can think about a little more broadly, rather than just city by city, on what can be put in place by higher governments,” she said.


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