- Activists are calling on the Quebec government to halt evictions during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Currently, the Régie du logement says eviction and repossession hearings and can continue after March 23.
FRAPRU and other housing advocacy groups in Quebec such as the RCLALQ are demanding that the Régie du logement halt evictions during the COVID-19 outbreak. In a communique, FRAPRU writes that "hearings for lease cancellation requests for non-payment and rent collection are being maintained, at their frantic pace, not to mention hearings for repossession of housing and evictions for expansion." The groups contend that "the coronavirus should not be used for additional evictions."
The Régie put out its own press release this weekend, confirming that "the hearing of the following cases is continued: requests of an urgent nature, including those raising risk to the health or safety of a person; requests for recovery of rent and for termination of the lease for delay of more than three weeks or frequent delay in the payment of rent; and requests for repossession of housing and in opposition to a notice of eviction for subdivision, enlargement or change of affectation of housing."
FRAPRU tells MTL Blog that it hopes the Quebec government will issue a mandate "to suspend the hearings for the duration of the containment measures and beyond, until such time as people can restore their ability to pay their rent."
MTL Blog asked the Régie if this means that landlords will have the legal precedent to evict people should they be unable to pay rent during a 14-day isolation period.
The Régie declined to comment.
Over 70 lawyers and activists across the province of Quebec have signed a petition to the government asking to completely suspend eviction hearings until the COVID-19 outbreak resolves.
With more and more places in Quebec closing up shop and imposing restrictions, people employed at bars and restaurants may not have access to a steady stream of income for at least 14 days, depending on the situation.
As such, paying rent might be complicated for some people.
"Vulnerable tenants, seniors, tenants with health problems and families with children will be thrown out onto the streets," writes FRAPRU.
"In the context of the current housing crisis, we have to ask ourselves where these people will be able to find housing."
A recent PadMapper report indicates that Montreal is now the 5th most expensive city to rent in Canada, with an average cost of $1,490 per month.
With 50 coronavirus cases now confirmed in Quebec, organizations are scrambling to find fair and equitable solutions for the public.
All hearings at the Régie have only been suspended until March 23 and then only Régie hearings that will continue are regarding health and safety, rent collection, and evictions.
CORPIQ, an organization that represents property owners in Quebec wrote that "although the coronavirus is a situation out of the ordinary, the rent remains payable and any defect allows the owner to exercise his recourse before the Régie du logement."
Due to the nature of the current crisis, renters who might not be able to afford their rent will have to wait and see if governments will assist them.
Information on hygiene practices during the pandemic is available on the government of Canada's website here.
Stay tuned for more updates on COVID-19 in Montreal.