MONTREAL, November 6, 2023 - The Corporation des propriétaires immobiliers du Québec (CORPIQ) welcomes with attention and interest the announcement of Bill 39 by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Andrée Laforest. Although CORPIQ applauds the initiative with regard to secondary suites, it is disappointed by the punitive approach to unoccupied dwellings.
Aiming to join a set of measures to get out of the crisis, aligned to relaunch the construction of new housing units and the renovation of existing units, CORPIQ wishes to congratulate the government on the measure to facilitate the addition of accessory units. This will enable the rapid creation of new housing units, by appealing to a large number of single-family home and plex owners throughout Quebec. The idea is to get this large community involved by adding a rental unit to their property, for example, by converting a basement unit, transforming a garage, or adding a floor.
However, CORPIQ finds it difficult to understand the measure that would allow municipalities to overtax an owner with a unit unoccupied for more than 6 months. In a context where housing renovations are being stifled by soaring renovation costs and sky-high interest rates, it's not uncommon for major renovations to result in one or more units being unoccupied for more than 6 months.
Rentals must be excluded
The rental situation should not be confused with other property types, such as the condo sector. There is indeed an inventory of condos which, according to a 2015 CMHC study, suggested that between 4% and 8% of foreign-owned condos had been left unoccupied in Montreal. CORPIQ therefore calls on the Minister to amend her bill by excluding the rental sector from this legislation, which would be most counterproductive for the renovation of the aging existing stock.
"Traditional rental housing is not receiving the investment it needs to be preserved. Current legislation is blocking maintenance and renovation, and pushing the players in the field towards the exit. Small landlords are particularly hard-pressed, as the conditions of ownership for plexes no longer make sense. Corrective measures are urgently needed to encourage the upkeep of the rental stock. The last thing we need to achieve this is a punitive surtax, since it has never been so difficult to renovate," says Eric Sansoucy, Chairman of the Board of CORPIQ.
Attentive to Bill 31 currently under study and Bill 39 just introduced, CORPIQ is still waiting for a revision of clause G of the lease, aimed at informing the new tenant of the lowest rent paid over the last twelve months in a non-punitive manner. While CORPIQ is in favor of a transparent approach, it foresees a rapid deterioration in landlord-tenant relations and a bogging down of the Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL), if transparency is still punished by a rent-setting appeal within 10 days of a contractual agreement. A lease (a contract) signed by mutual agreement and in good faith should not conceal a reversal ploy against a landlord who has maintained the low rent offered to the previous tenant. Punishing landlords who have kept rents low in the past is nonsense. The government must correct the situation by removing this sword of Damocles that penalizes the entire rental sector.
A non-profit organization bringing together 30,000 owners and managers who own nearly 500,000 rental units and condos, CORPIQ has been the largest association offering services to landlords for over 40 years. Quebec landlords provide housing for 1.3 million tenant households, and seven out of ten of them own a duplex or triplex.
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