Tenants who are already under pressure denounce excessive rent increases

Tenants who are already under pressure denounce excessive rent increases

Renters, already choked on cost-of-living increases, are being discouraged by recent abusive rent increases, which go far beyond the Housing Administrative Court’s recommendation announced on Tuesday.

• Also read: A rent increase of at least 2.3% is permitted this year

“My mother paid $545 a month and the new landlords offered her two rent increases: one of 12.5% ​​($68) for an increase in utility costs and another of $115 (about 22%) for future installation of a rental car heat pump. She was told she had to choose between the two [hausses] Or leave,” explains the son of a tenant from Trois-Rivières, who asked to hide his identity for fear of reprisals against his mother.

Apartment for rent

Photo courtesy of a source

Before the building was sold in 2021, the tenant paid $505 a month rent.

“The previous owners had added $40 a month to give them a better chance of selling the building. We accepted it at the time because we thought it was still okay, but it’s abusive there,” explains the man who helps his 59-year-old ailing mother.

Rises for no reason

On Tuesday, the Administrative Housing Tribunal (TAL) published its annual recommendations, proposing a fundamental 2.3% rent increase for unheated housing.

Last year, the TAL offered an average increase of 1.28% for the same accommodation.

Despite this, many tenants in Quebec received calls for substantial rent increases.

In the Capitale-Nationale, some tenants have even received up to 8%, even if no major work has been carried out in their building in the last year.

“Since I’ve moved into my apartment I’ve been getting about a $5 raise a month every year except last year when I got a $10 raise. This year I’m being asked for a $100 increase,” complains a tenant living in the Limoilou neighborhood. He also asked for anonymity for fear of reprisals.

“It drives me crazy because everything is already more expensive, especially groceries,” he adds.

For the latter, the 8% increase is all the more incomprehensible since he has been caught with water ingress problems in his apartment for four years.

“They just do surface repairs,” he argues.

right to refusal

As for the housing committees, the phenomenon of abusive increases is expected to increase. At the Bureau d’animation et d’information logement (BAIL) in Quebec City, we’ve already noticed that calls from tenants are increasing year on year.

“We have already received 40 calls for rent increases since the beginning of January. With the “season” starting, I think we’re risking more calls than last year,” said Jonathan Carmichaël, spokesman for the organization.

BAIL of Quebec's Jonathan Carmichaël is concerned about a sharp rise in abusive rent increases by landlords in Quebec.

Stevens LeBlanc/JOURNAL DE QUEBEC

BAIL of Quebec’s Jonathan Carmichaël is concerned about a sharp rise in abusive rent increases by landlords in Quebec.

The same story on the page of spokesman for the Regrouping of Quebec Housing Committees and Tenants’ Associations (RCLALQ), Cédric Dussault.

“We invite tenants not to rush into accepting increases. They can always decline increases they think are excessive,” he explains.

Each year, the TAL proposes a “reasonable” rate of increase to the owners, taking into account their expenses, in particular the increase of taxes, insurance, major works, as well as all the costs of running the building.

Landlords have three to six months before the end of the lease to submit an application for a rent increase. You therefore have until March 31st to send off the notice of termination for leases that end on June 30th.

Tenants can reject the increase they consider excessive. It is then up to the owner to open a file with the TAL to apply for the rent to be fixed.

Estimate of the average adjustment of the TAL basic rent for 2023:

Unheated accommodation:

Heated accommodation:

  • Electricity: 2.8%
  • Natural gas: 4.5%
  • Heating oil: 7.3%

* Source: Administrative Court for Housing (TAL)

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