CORPIQ has multiplied the steps this week in order to counter Valérie Plante’s idea launched last Monday, of a landlord certification program. Basically, in her own words, she wants to take "strong measures" to bring landlords to heel.
The certification project would require building owners to register in a public registry the amount of rents, proof of inspection of dwellings, renovation plans, permits, pest management plans, inventory of the presence of mold, and would also include certification of fire systems.
This information would be available as open data to, they say, "assist tenants in their housing search." The certification would be renewable every five years, and landlords renting out units without this license would be subject to monthly fines of up to $500 per apartment per month.
To join the registry, landlords would have to pay $10 per apartment on an annual basis. According to information obtained by CORPIQ, the cost of modelling such a registry would be more than 50 million, a bottomless pit that would lead to a resounding failure.
As soon as the mayor's announcement was made on Monday, CORPIQ reacted vigorously by pointing out that Montreal landlords take exemplary care of their tenants by going for very low rent increases, year after year, when the occupant renews his lease. It is absolutely necessary to bring the rent back up to the market price when the tenant leaves the unit, otherwise the landlord would have no interest in renting due to lack of income.
"Setting up a lease registry is tantamount to making tenants believe that they will be able to trick the landlord into renting at a lower price than the one posted... it’s not only unwholesome, but also unacceptable as an idea," indicates Benoit Ste-Marie, Executive Director of CORPIQ. Without sufficient revenues, maintaining rental stock will be difficult. "The municipal administration knows very well that after years of generosity towards the tenant-occupant, landlords need to set the unit to its market price when it becomes available, it is a question of survival of the real estate stock," adds Benoit Ste-Marie.
Denis Coderre of Ensemble Montréal is juggling with the idea of a registry, but with the announcement of the Minister Andrée Laforest at the end of the day on Monday, it is very likely that the impulses of a registry will be rather discreet on this side of the political spectrum. Indeed, Minister Andrée Laforest stated that:
"For landlords, the implementation of such a registry would bring new obligations as well as an additional administrative and financial burden. Also, these new requirements could discourage a certain number of small landlords and incite them to dispose of their building.
For tenants, the implementation of a registry brings few advantages since the rent paid by the previous occupant is included in the lease. Thus, the information necessary to pursue an appeal to the TAL is available even if the landlord fails to include the previous year's rent information in the lease."
We invite you to read CORPIQ's press release in order to know its position and its explanations regarding the idea of a certification and a registry for Montreal landlords.