On January 25, the Régie du logement du Québec issued a statement that Quebec tenants and landlords should expect a rent increase of approximately 0.5 per cent this year. Rents for apartments with gas and electric heating could increase by as much as 0.6 per cent according to an RDL statement.
For an apartment with a monthly rent of $650, the 0.5 per cent increase would translate to an additional $3.25 each month, translating into $39 annually.
Régie spokesperson Jean-Pierre Leblanc said that the 0.5 per cent estimate comes from “the cost of renovations, tax increase, maintenance, and heating…calculated according to Statistics Canada figures for these increased costs across the whole province of Quebec.”
Leslie Bagg, community organizer with the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Community Council, explained how increased rents are examined before the Régie.
“If the rent increase is contested and it goes to the [Régie], then [it] does the calculation based on all the expenses that the landlord did in the previous year,” she said. “All those expenses are taken into account.”
“The rent increase could be a lot more for a particular city or building if there was a major tax increase or repair costs,” said Leblanc.
Martin Messier, president of the Association des propriétaires du Québec, said the increase would not be enough to cover the costs of maintaining a building.
“We cannot keep up with the increase of costs that we have. … If a landlord redid a roof in 2010, it will take that owner more than thirty years to get back their investment,” said Messier.
“We have landlords postponing major repairs as much as possible because they simply can’t afford them,” Messier added. “[These postponements] affect the quality of buildings in Quebec.”
Bagg indicated that students are especially at risk of illegal rent hikes in lease agreements.
“Students are a prime target more for the rent increases that happen between tenants because they often aren’t aware that they do have the right to know what the previous tenant was paying and that they can contest it at the [Régie],” she said.
“It’s important that people know what their rights are when it comes to rent increases,” Bagg said.
“Students are one of the groups that unscrupulous landlords unfortunately prey upon for those kinds of increases,” she pointed out.