Bill 51: renovation of the rental housing stock will continue to wait

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The Corporation des propriétaires immobiliers du Québec (CORPIQ) welcomes the adoption of Bill 51 aimed at increasing productivity and efficiency in the organization of work in the construction sector, but is disappointed to note that Bill 51 will not correct the issues of inconsistency and regulatory red tape that plague renovations in the residential rental real estate sector.

Bill 51: renovation of the rental housing stock will continue to wait

A step forward for construction 

Bill 51 is a step towards improving productivity in the construction industry, and CORPIQ hopes that the changes brought about by this bill will have a positive impact on new building construction sites, and consequently on the addition of new units. 


No solution to the housing crisis

On the other hand, CORPIQ would have liked to see a little more flexibility introduced for renovation work on the aging stock of existing residential rental properties. With 60% of housing built before 1980, the need for renovation is considerable. Unfortunately, carrying out work in an occupied dwelling is highly complex, given the presence of a tenant and the rigidity of construction industry rules. 

CORPIQ has called for Bill 51 to be amended to exempt renovation work on light residential rental buildings from Bill R-20, as is the case for owner-occupiers. Applying union rules to the rental sector means longer renovation times, higher costs, which are inevitably reflected in rents, and no guarantee of better quality work.  "In the midst of a housing and personnel shortage, Bill 51 could have eased regulations to encourage investment where it counts: in the tenant's home," says CORPIQ president Éric Sansoucy.


An ongoing problem

The current constraints of R-20 application rules in multi-unit housing create a difficult working environment for many types of work, with the result that calls for tenders often go unanswered by RBQ-licensed contractors in good standing with the CCQ. This is because the work is not on the scale of commercial or new residential construction projects, and therefore not lucrative enough for contractors. Work in inhabited rental residential environments is also often very restrictive for contractors, who have to act quickly and nimbly to limit negative impacts on tenants.

"Unfortunately, the current constraints on renovation work are slowing down access to safer, more energy-efficient and, in some cases, healthier housing, which is obviously more pleasant for tenants," added Mr. Sansoucy. CORPIQ will continue to work with the government to find another legislative or regulatory vehicle to make current regulations more flexible.

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