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Quebec housing tribunal recommends 2.3 per cent rent increase

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Quebec's housing tribunal (TAL) is recommending rents increase by 2.3 per cent to keep up with rising expenses -- a figure landlords should be legally required to stick to, advocates say.

On Wednesday, the tribunal, formerly called the Régie du logement du Quebec, released a breakdown of its recommendations based on several factors, including the increased cost of electricity and gas, management fees and capital expenditures.

The recommendation is 2.3 per cent for leases that don't include heating. The rate is higher for those that do, at 2.8 per cent for electric heating, 4.5 for gas heating and 7.3 for systems that use heating oil.

The number should adjust according to municipal tax increases and any major work done to the dwelling. 

In a press release, housing advocacy group RCLALQ said landlords frequently increase rents far beyond the tribunal's recommendation.

A 2022 RCLALQ study found rents across Quebec rose 9 per cent in just one year.

The organization is asking Quebec Housing Minister France-Élaine Duranceau to require landlords to adhere to the recommended rent increase.

"Forcing landlords to comply with the rates issued by the TAL would help curb the uncontrolled explosion in rents. Tenants often accept an abusive increase because they don't know the law, or simply to buy peace," said RCLALQ spokesperson Cédric Dussault in a press release. "It is not in the interest of tenants to accept abusive increases. More than ever, control is needed."

But Quebec landlord's association (CORPIQ) argues the tribunal's recommendation isn't high enough, claiming the "outdated" formula it uses to calculate increases doesn't keep up with inflation.

"Rental landlords will therefore have to absorb, once again, a significant portion of inflation in a fragile property management context," reads a CORPIQ press release.

Inflation in Quebec rose 6.7 per cent in 2022.  

CONTESTING A RENT HIKE

According to legal information resource Éducaloi, Quebec tenants have 30 days to refuse a rent increase, in writing.

The landlord then has another 30 days to justify the increase before the housing tribunal.

The TAL website features a calculation form for tenants and landlords to help determine appropriate rent increases based on factors like inflation and renovations.

The resulting calculations are not legally binding, but can provide a framework for determining reasonable rent hikes.  

"Refusing a rent increase that you consider exaggerated is a right," said Dussault. "You don't have to choose between accepting an abusive increase or leaving your apartment." 

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