The Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ), a local tenant advocacy group, has told MTL Blog that it condemns a tenant blacklist website that says it's based in the U.S. and Canada.
The website, called Liste Noire, defines itself as a "global company that helps both building owners and property managers avoid losses or rental problems with certain individuals."
The site invites users to "simply add your tenants who are causing you or have caused you headaches" and "search the database to see if anyone has been registered."
In its "About" section, it says its "mission is to allow you to create an intelligent database that will allow you to make an easy and precise search based on some basic information in order to gain confidence in the face of a tenant at risk of causing you problems."
"While this website, in particular, does not appear to be well established, it can be harmful and should be reported to the CDPDJ, something we are already in the process of doing," the RCLALQ said.
"We condemn this kind of website that can be used as a means to discriminate against low-income tenants, people of colour, families, disabled tenants, and tenants who simply defend their rights."
In a statement shared with MTL Blog, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ) said it could not directly comment or give a legal opinion on Liste Noire.
It did note that, generally, "the collection of information on prospective tenants prior to the conclusion of a lease must respect the right to equality and the prohibition of discrimination set out in the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms."
"Therefore, an owner cannot refuse to rent an apartment on the basis of one of the grounds of discrimination listed in the Charter."
Around 80 housing advocates gathered in front of Justin Trudeau's campaign office in Montreal on Tuesday to protest on behalf of social housing and against inadequate housing and what they say is Trudeau's "lack of commitment" on the issue.*
"The health crisis exposed the serious physical and mental health consequences for tenants in Mr. Trudeau's riding living in substandard overcrowded housing, and in particular for the development of children and the safety of abused women. One would hope that this would lead to greater interest on his part, but it didn't," Comité d'Action de Parc-Extension coordinator Amy Darwish said in a press release.
Crise du logement: @JustinTrudeau interpellé sur les besoins urgents de logements sociaux dans sa circonscription
FRAPRU and other housing advocate groups in Montreal have called on the government to "commit to a recurring investment of $3 billion per year to fund new social housing."
The investment would allow Quebec to build around 7,000 social housing units per year, according to FRAPRU.
Montreal's Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension borough has been at the centre of the social housing debate for quite some time.
Advocates claim thousands lived in unaffordable housing or housing that was too small before the pandemic.
"We already cannot rely on the private rental market to take care of low-income households, the response must be political, the State must take this on. This response requires social housing and we want clear commitments from Mr. Trudeau," Charles Castonguay, community organizer at the Association des Locataires de Villeray, said.
A Montreal studio apartment for rent has been making waves on social media — because it's actually a converted car garage.
A now-deleted Kijiji ad for the space put the rent at $505 per month.
"It was a garage initially, transformed into a studio," the ad stated, adding that the apartment included an oven, fridge, toaster, TV, wardrobe, BBQ and a table.
Heat, electricity and Wi-Fi were included in the rent.
It was described as "ideal for a single person, worker [or] student."
The closed door of the former garage was visible in the photos on Kijiji.
An address wasn't listed, but the ad said the space was eight minutes by bus from the Henri-Bourassa metro station in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough.
Screenshots of the Kijiji ad posted to the popular mtlflextv Instagram account amassed over 5,000 likes and 200 comments. Followers of the page mostly poked fun at the apartment listing and implied that it demonstrated the state of the Montreal rental market.
So did a tenant rights group.
The Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ) shared a photo of the listing on Facebook.
"Housing at $500, said Premier François Legault a few months ago," the group captioned the post, referring to the premier's now-infamous suggestion that Montreal rents "start at $500 or $600 a month" — a comment that many of his opponents and tenant groups denounced as out of touch.
Contacted by MTL Blog, the person who posted the Kijiji ad for the garage studio declined to comment on this story.
They told the Journal de Montréal, however, that they were not the owner of the property but had been living in the apartment.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
The May 23 tweet by Montrealer Sam Donald compares the Montreal of 2021 to famously expensive Toronto — a city whose glitzy glass towers and lack of accessible cultural offerings (at least, according to Quebecers) are often the subject of anecdotal warnings by Montrealers worried about the fate of their city's vulnerable indie arts scene amid a rising cost of living.
Montréal 2011: do you want to live in a city with low rent, a thriving music scene and great locally owned bars?
Donald, who is a city council candidate for Balarama Holness' Mouvement Montréal party, told MTL Blog that "it seems like the people in power are pushing a corporatization of Montréal at the expense of the culture that's at the heart of the city."
"I came to Montréal because of the city's artist-friendly culture and accessible rents, which seem to be disappearing at the hands of our local government," they said.
Tenant rights groups have called on political leaders to take action.
In a June survey, the Regroupement des comités logements et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ) declared that "the price of housing is exploding in Quebec." The group's survey showed an 11% increase in the price of a two-bedroom Montreal-area apartment between 2020 and 2021.
The RCLALQ called on "François Legault's government to implement real measures to guarantee access to affordable housing," including a public rent registry.
Ahead of the September federal election, the Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) is also calling on federal party leaders to "make clear commitments to social housing" to address the housing crisis.