and the desire of families to raise their children in Montreal.
CORPIQ qualifies as devious and unacceptable the adoption, by seven boroughs of the City of Montreal, of draft by-laws aimed at restricting the enlargement and subdivision of existing dwellings, as well as the conversion of rooming houses into dwellings.
In fact, the boroughs of Ville-Marie, Verdun, Plateau Mont-Royal, Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, Sud-Ouest, Mercier Hochelaga-Maisonneuve as well as Villeray Saint-Michel Parc-Extension are all in the process of adopting, in times of the health crisis, measures that directly attack the rights of plex owners. Five of its boroughs are led by mayors from the Projet Montréal party, including Ville-Marie by Mayor Valérie Plante.
The by-laws adopted in a concerted manner by these boroughs differ slightly from one another, but they clearly show a lack of analysis of the situation and of the negative effects of such a by-law.
Although urban planning and development laws require public consultations, CORPIQ denounces the lack of transparency of the boroughs and the circumstances in which "public consultations" are held. Landlords have not been consulted beforehand in a democratic process worthy of the name, even though there is talk of drastically restricting rights enshrined in the Civil Code of Québec.
"This is an approach that violates democratic and legal principles and the rules of good municipal management. The thousands of landlords and tenants who have chosen to buy a plex in Montreal are being deprived of their rights and each of them will suffer financial consequences, in addition to seeing their future project destroyed," said Marie-France Daoust, Senior Advisor, Public and Government Affairs, CORPIQ.
These regulations will ruin the projects of Montreal families who want to become owners or who already own a duplex or triplex, for example, and who want to combine units so that they have enough room to live with their children. They will also have the effect of devaluing these buildings, which will lose interest for owner-occupiers and push even more families out of Montreal.
The ban on subdividing dwellings will have the effect of keeping large dwellings at unprofitable rents, including those occupied by a single person. As we can already see, this leads to under-investment, which results in the degradation of the building to a point of no return. Plexes that have become unoccupied or even evacuated end up being converted or even rebuilt as condominiums.
According to the boroughs, the objective of the by-laws would be the preservation of the rental stock in order to counter the housing crisis that was taking shape last winter. However, this tactic will have little or no impact on the vacancy rate. First of all, a survey conducted in July by CORPIQ shows that the vacancy rate in Montréal has risen to 2.2% compared to 1.5% last April. According to CORPIQ, the number of available units will continue to grow, notably because of four fundamental factors: job losses, the marked drop in immigration, the drop in the number of students near universities (especially foreign clientele) and the return to the market of thousands of units that were used for tourist accommodation.
"In Quebec, a landlord is allowed to evict tenants in order to take over the dwelling or to subdivide it, substantially enlarge it or change its use. This has been very useful in improving the central neighbourhoods of Montreal. If there are cases of repossession of housing in dishonest circumstances, then the consequences should be reinforced rather than penalizing the future of many Montreal families. CORPIQ is asking the boroughs to completely withdraw these draft by-laws," concluded Ms. Daoust.