On February 15, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced a new "responsible landlord" certification and rent registry. The project, which aims to combat the large rent increases and "renovictions," will require landlords of buildings with eight or more units to provide "proof of proper maintenance of their building" and declare their units' rental prices every five years in order to be eligible for certification.
But is this new plan really going to help renters? We reached out to housing activists — and they have their doubts.
"We were hoping for something way more ambitious coming from the City of Montreal," said Catherine Lussier, community organizer with the Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU). She added that the timeline of the project, which will only be put in place next year and be fully operational in five years, continues to put vulnerable tenants at risk of abusive practices from their landlords. "It's really disappointing that it's going to take that long to protect these tenants."
The Coalition of Housing Committees and Tenants Associations of Quebec (RCLALQ) mirrored these sentiments.
They say one of the main problems with the new system is that will only apply to buildings with eight or more units, which only accounts for 35% of the rentals units in the city. "So it still only protects 35% of the tenants," said Marion Duval, spokesperson for the RCLALQ.
She said details about who will be monitoring the quality of maintenance in apartment buildings are also lacking. "We don't know who's going to be authorized to do these inspections. We don't know what type of inspection they'll have to do," said Duval.
She further asserted that while the landlord certification could help with the "sanitary conditions of the housing," it "doesn't help with the rent increases we're facing right now."
"There's no measure that's actually going to protect people from [...] a rent increase."
The RCLALQ recommended that the registry be changed to an annual declaration of building rent prices that potential tenants can access. "It doesn't have to be that complicated." said Duval. "Why not make it [...] a real registry and have a real use for the citizens of Montreal?"
They also recommend that regular inspections be conducted by designated city inspectors — not by contractors who may or may not work for landlords.
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