Tenants' advocates call for extension of leases ending June 30 due to COVID-19
MONTREAL -- Groups advocating for tenants rights are calling on the Quebec government to extend leases ending June 30 to give tenants currently confined to their dwellings due to Covid-19 more time to visit and choose their next apartments.
Premier Francois Legault said today that it’s too soon to decide about prolonging leases and delaying the big July 1 moving day in Quebec, although he left the door open to such a plan in the next few weeks.
“April is a big month for visiting apartments and looking for a new place,” Maxime Roy-Allard, a spokesperson for the Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec told CTV News. “April (and) also May, but we know for the whole month of April public health authorities are saying we should not go out and visit apartments because that goes against public health recommendations. So what’s going to happen over the next months is very uncertain”
Hans Brouillette, a spokesperson for the Corporation des Proprietaires Immobiliers du Quebec, said delaying leases would cause havoc.
“What about the person who signed a lease somewhere before March? They have to move somewhere,” Brouillette said, explaining that leases signed before March 17 must be honoured.
On March 17 the government determined no tenant could be evicted for the time being because of the pandemic unless a new lease for that apartment was signed before that date.
Brouillette, who represents 25,000 landlords owning around half a million rental units, said there is no law forbidding people from visiting apartments right now as long as they maintain physical distancing rules of separating themselves by two metres.
The CORPIQ is advising its members to ensure potential tenants have seen photos of the units and are qualified financially to rent the place before arranging a visit and only by one person, he said.
He admitted landlords have seen a dramatic drop in enquiries right at the time of year when most prospective tenants are usually competing for spaces to rent.
It’s estimated some 80 per cent of tenants move on July 1 in a typical year.