A lobby group that represents Montreal landlords has decided to crack down on the tenants who break these rules.
Their solution is to include a new clause to lease agreements that would specifically forbid people from smoking weed in their apartments, not just cigarettes.
Right now, it seems useless since marijuana is illegal, so it's implied that you can't smoke weed it in your apartment. But since the rules of marijuana might change in the next few years, this new clause may be necessary.
However, considering how many people smoke weed in my apartment building, I'm not looking forward to the day my landlord starts knocking on my door every night trying to figure out which apartment "that smell" is coming from. becuase how else are you supposed to control this?
Until they figure out how to enforce this properly without violating everyone right's, maybe they should leave it alone.
But a Quebec nonprofit is trying to put the agency back into the hands of local renters. La Base, an organization that works to create, operate and support open data projects, has built a citizens' rent registry, providing the public with a place to review rent prices online before committing to a lease.
Tenants who are already locked into a lease can log their own rent on an interactive map in order to inform potential future tenants in the same unit, building or neighbourhood. You'll also find tenant rights Q&As built into the site.
Anyone can go to the Registre Des Loyers website and anonymously add their lease information to the registry. This means your rent will become publicly available data that the public can see as they explore the interactive map.
If you don't agree with the price, you can bring your case to the Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL) to fix the rent guided by a calculation based on previous rent prices. But, as the TAL explains on its calculation form, "the amounts provided by the landlord have not been verified by the Housing Authority and are the sole responsibility of the landlord."
"In Quebec, the lowest price paid for a unit is what legal increases [are based on], but the party that provides this information is also the party that would benefit from lying about this information," said Adam Mongrain, director of La Base.
"Someone knows exactly how to price it to get the maximum amount of money, and the other person does not have all the information to negotiate properly [...] So having this information in Quebec is especially useful."
The registry creates "transparency," Mongrain said.
In June 2020, Québec solidaire MNA Andrés Fontecilla introduced a private member's bill asking the government to create a "Rent Register, which allows a lessee to know the rent paid in the last five years for a dwelling."
Since launching in June, Mongrain said the registry has gotten upwards of 5,000 new lease submissions. Combined with the 6,000 leases already added during the testing phase, that makes for 11,000 publicly accessible rent prices or data points on the map.
"It means that people see the value and want to do something about the housing crisis," Mongrain said.
With more participation in the registry comes more comments in the comments field.
Mongrain gave the example of a Montrealer who wrote that they'd gone to court twice to keep their landlord from raising the rent from $1,500 a month to $3,000 — a 100% increase.
"We are hoping to influence consumer behaviours to incentivize good acting by actors in the market," Mongrain said.
"As people provide more and more information, and as more and more people sign up for the rental registry, it becomes something to keep in mind if you are someone who rents out units because there's a fair chance that the people we are renting out to know their rights and have access to or will access the rental registry."
To make matters more complicated, a statement from the City of Montreal says that the number of available units has decreased significantly over the years with the vacancy rate in Montreal slightly above 3%, compared to 1.6% last year.
"We are currently faced with a situation where the housing that is reappearing on the market does not match the ability to pay of the majority of renters," said Robert Beaudry, the city's executive committee member responsible for housing and real estate strategy.
"That is why we recommend that Montreal tenants renew their leases, if possible. If not, before terminating their lease, they should make sure they have signed a new one."
If you've received a notice for a rent increase, you have one month to respond in writing.
If you refuse the increase, your landlord can either try to negotiate with you or ask the Tribunal administratif du logement to determine the rent. In that case, your rent will stay the same until the Tribunal makes its decision, and you have the right to remain in your home.
Whatever your situation, make sure to keep dated and signed proof of all your communications with your landlord. You are not obligated to accept a rent increase if it seems excessive.
Your landlord will have to prove that their repossession respects the rules
If you've received a notice of repossession, the City of Montreal says it's possible your landlord wants to occupy the property or have it occupied by a member of their immediate family.
You are under no obligation to accept. If you refuse to leave your home, your landlord can appeal your decision to the Tribunal administratif du logement, but they will have to prove that the repossession respects the rules.
If you lose your case, you can still be entitled to compensation and accommodation.
If you get evicted, you're entitled to compensation equivalent to three months’ rent and moving costs
If you've received a notice for eviction or to subdivide, enlarge or change your dwelling, you can contest the justification for the eviction.
To do so, you have to file an application directly with the Tribunal administratif du logement in the month following the notice you received.
If the Tribunal decides that the eviction is justified, you are entitled to three months’ rent and reasonable moving costs.
You have a right to return to your home after an evacuation for major work or repairs
If your landlord asks you to temporarily leave your home to carry out work for more than one week, a notice must be sent to you at least three months prior to the work being done.
If you are asked to vacate the premises for less than a week, a notice must be sent 10 days before.
Regardless of how long you're being asked to evacuate, you are entitled to compensation. Once the work is completed, you have the right to return to your home in good condition and under the same conditions.
You can't be refused as a tenant for any reason other than the inability to pay rent
The only reason a landlord can refuse to rent a dwelling is if a potential tenant is deemed unable to pay the rent, and the landlord must be able to prove it.
However, provincial housing laws indicate that "the occupants of a dwelling shall be of such a number as to allow each of them to live in normal conditions of comfort and sanitation" — so depending on how many renters you are and the space of the dwelling, you could be denied a lease.
The city has the authority to intervene if your landlord doesn't resolve a sanitary issue
If you're having sanitation issues with your home, such as vermin, bedbugs or mould, ask your landlord to address the issue immediately.
If the situation isn't resolved within a reasonable timeframe, the city advises you to call your borough at 311, and has the authority to intervene to ensure decent living conditions.
The Mile End's beloved S.W. Welch bookstore will be sticking around for another two years after a negotiation with its landlord, Shiller-Lavy Realties, according to a post on the store's Facebook page.
Over the past few weeks, all eyes have been on the small bookstore on rue Saint-Viateur after it became the crux of a community movement against gentrification.
An online resource has compiled information about Montreal landlords all in one place. "Find My Landlord" is the creation of local web developer Chris Bitsakis, who told MTL Blog that "the vacancies of the commercial strip on Notre-Dame in St-Henri were a catalyst to me making the app."
With a highly-accessible user interface, Montrealers can type in their address and find some information about their landlord, including their name or any corporate affiliation.