MONTREAL -- The City of Montreal on Monday announced it now has the right of first refusal on properties that go up for sale in "key neighbourhoods" in order to improve its inventory of social and community housing.

Some 300 properties located in sectors that are "under transformation" and are in need of more social housing have already been identified, the city said.

They are located in the following boroughs: Cote-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Plateau-Mont-Royal, Sud-Ouest, Verdun, Ville-Marie, and Villeray–Saint-Michel– Parc-Extension. The city said other areas may be prioritized in the future.

"Montreal is the first city in Quebec to have a right of first refusal for social and community housing purposes," Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said in a statement Monday. "Our administration continues to be a leader in housing and does not hesitate to step outside the box in order to find solutions to a particularly tense situation."

"As we know, the housing shortage is hitting Montreal hard and the lack of social housing is sorely felt by Montrealers in need," Plante added. 

The city said a previous deal with the Quebec government, called Reflexe Montreal, already gave it the right of first refusal on properties for sale that the city determines it needs to acquire for urban planning purposes. The city also has the right of first refusal on properties it wants to use for green space.

The new right will allow the city to target properties it wants to use for social housing specifically. With it, the city will have 60 days to decide if they're going to buy a plot of land once it becomes available.

The Plante administration has promised to create 12,000 new social housing units in Montreal.

The Quebec landlords association argued on Monday that the new regulation would be unfair to sellers. "For someone who wants to sell a land or property, if the city puts its name on the first right of refusal it means for a landlord it's more difficult to sell it at the real price because the market it's not a free market," said Hans Brouillette director of public affairs at the Quebec landlords association.

With files from CTV Montreal's Emily Campbell.