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End of lease transfers: Advocates say Quebec's housing bill will work against tenants


Quebec's new housing bill is a step closer to becoming law, promising to protect tenants -- but housing advocates are uneasy. 

Bill 31 was introduced as a way to improve tenant rights amid the current housing crisis, but critics say some aspects of the proposed law are working against renters.

For example, Bill 31 would bring the end of lease transfers. The practice involves a tenant transferring their lease to someone else, undercutting any attempt by the landlord to choose who they want and raise the rent.

"It's the first time in more than 45 years that instead of protecting more tenants' rights, the government is withdrawing rights," said Cedric Dusseault of housing group RCLALQ.

The bill has other goals: it will better protect against "renovictions," when landlords illegally expel occupants so they can renovate their dwellings and place them back on the market at a higher cost.

It will also increase fines for landlords who discriminate against tenants.

But during hearings this week in Quebec City, opposition parties Québec solidaire and the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP) said the proposed fines will do nothing to prevent illegal practices.

"$400 is really not dissuasive," testified the QLP's Virginie Dufour.

But Quebec's housing minister replied that she needs to respect legal boundaries.

"The fines will respect existing law," explained France-Élaine Duranceau.

Bill 31 is not expected to be adopted before the Christmas break. Top Stories

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