The rent adjustment planned for this year by the Administrative Housing Tribunal (TAL, formerly Regie Du Logement) is the highest in 30 years.
The Administrative Housing Tribunal (TAL) is proposing rent increases between 2.3% and 7.3% for this year. An increase that could be difficult to absorb for many tenants, without satisfying the demands of several owners who already plan to increase more than what the Court predicts. Landlords are experiencing mortgage hikes and higher evaluations meaning higher taxes not to mention higher heating costs.
This week the TAL published the percentages applicable to the rent adjustment calculation for 2023. The Tribunal provides for basic increases ranging from 2.3% for an unheated rent to 7.3% for an oil-heated dwelling.
After adding the municipal tax hike, which landlords can fully add to the increase, that can be a jump anywhere from $44.50 to $120 per month for rent of $1,500.
"This is the biggest increase in 30 years," said spokesperson for the Popular Action Front for Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU), Véronique Laflamme. This will be a further blow to low- and modest-income tenant households, who are already struggling due to rising prices, she warns.
Such a situation was inevitable with the current system, because the TAL sets the planned increases taking into account inflation, explains Cédric Dussault, spokesperson for the Regroupement des committees logement et associations de tenants du Québec (RCLALQ).
"If the owners stuck to the increases provided for by the TAL, we wouldn't be so bad," he warns. “The problem is that these are only recommendations and, according to feedback from the field, a lot of tenants have already received increases that far exceed what is proposed by the Court. »
A recommendation, not an obligation
Indeed, the proposals of the TAL are only a reference which serves to give an idea to the owners and the tenants of what it considers reasonable as an increase.
Landlords are therefore not required to limit themselves in the increases requested, and tenants are just as free to refuse the rent increases presented to them without having to leave their accommodation.
The percentages of the TAL are in fact used to decide when a rent increase is contested and ends up in court (even if other elements then come into play, in a complex calculation). “If it ends up in court, he risks granting an increase around the suggested rates,” explains Cédric Dussault.
“But it is less than 1% of rents that are fixed in this way. Most of the time, landlords and tenants come to an agreement long before they go to court. According to him, the recommendations of the TAL should become a legal increase ceiling to curb excessive rent increases.
In the meantime, Mr. Dussault reminds tenants that they have 30 days to respond to the increases proposed by their landlord. “You have to take the time to assess your own situation, and if you need help doing so, you can always call your local housing committee for help. »
Owners want to increase more
On the side of the associations of owners, the increases calculated by the TAL are considered insufficient, in the context where interest rates are on the rise and where the Quebec rental stock is aging and requires a lot of maintenance work.
Although the TAL provides that rents can be increased further in the event of a major renovation (about $3.17 per $1,000 of renovations), the formula does not make renovations profitable, says Martin Messier, president of the Quebec Landlords Association (APQ).
It also calls on its members not to rely on the rate presented by the TAL and to make their own calculations so as not to risk claiming less than what they could have asked for.
One possible solution would be to subsidize renovations directly or through tax credits, which would make it possible to do the renovations without passing the bill to the tenants, suggests Marc-André Plante, director of public affairs and government relations for the Corporation of landlords. real estate in Quebec (CORPIQ).
“One thing is certain […], if we want to keep rents affordable, governments will have to get involved. Better do it sooner rather than later,” he says.