“A difficult year for the right to housing”, alert organizations

“A difficult year for the right to housing», warn organizations

In light of the Report on the rental market published this morning by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the Front d’action populaire en réménagement urbain (FRAPRU) and the Regroupement des Comités Logement et Associations de Tenants du Quebec (RCLALQ) warn of “a difficult year for the right to housing”, in 2023.

“Not only are the rates of unoccupied housing falling dramatically, but rents are accelerating their escalation. We are not far from the perfect storm, if we also take into consideration the high number of evictions due to speculation,” warns Véronique Laflamme, FRAPRU spokesperson.

An imbalanced rental market

FRAPRU points to the fall in the vacancy rate in Quebec, which is now below the equilibrium threshold of 3% in all the metropolitan areas of the province. Provincially, the latter tumbled from 2.5% to 1.7%. In Montreal, it stands at 2% compared to 1.5% in Quebec. That same rate dipped below 1% in Saguenay, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières, where it stood at 0.9%.

The Quebec government considers that the rental market is balanced when this rate is 3% and that it is in crisis when the rate is close to or below 1%.

“Although the vacancy rate is a piece of data frequently used to determine whether or not there is a housing crisis and that vacancy rates are very low throughout Quebec, it is above all the uncontrolled explosion of rents that restricts access to housing suitable and accelerates the impoverishment of tenant households”, nuances the RCLALQ.

According to FRAPRU, such low rates point to a tumultuous period of moves.

“Such starving rates will seriously complicate the search for accommodation. FRAPRU therefore expects a period of moves at least as complicated as that of 2022, when 4,000 households had to call on the housing assistance services of their municipality – where there was one – and that more 600 of them were still homeless the day after July 1.”

Explosion of rents

According to the RCLALQ, rents should continue to increase in 2023 across the province. The group anticipates “a dramatic increase in rents throughout Quebec”.

According to figures from the Report, 30% of municipalities in Quebec experienced a rent increase of more than 10% in 2022. In the large Montreal region, 51% of neighborhoods and municipalities have seen their rents rise by more than 10%.

This increase amounts to 12.2% for Côte-des-Neiges/Mont-Royal/Outremont, 11.4% for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, 11.4% for Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie and 11.3% for Ahuntsic -Cartierville.

“Tenants are caught off guard with rents that are rising faster than already galloping inflation,” criticizes the RCLALQ. The latter urges the Minister responsible for Housing, France-Élaine Duranceau, to decree an immediate rent freeze and to deploy “permanent control measures to stop the soaring rents”.

“The Government of Quebec and the Minister responsible for Housing cannot sit idly by; we must freeze rents immediately, and then cap increases,” said Cédric Dussault, spokesperson for the RCLALQ.

The explosion of rents are pushing more and more tenant households into precariousness. These households bear the brunt of the significant increase in the cost of all essential needs.

Cédric Dussault, spokesperson for the RCLALQ

Building more housing, the solution?

Véronique Laflamme, of FRAPRU, believes that building more housing would not solve the problem. It undermines the assumption that having more available units would free up affordable housing for the poorest households.

“Expensive housing pulls all rents up,” she contrasts. FRAPRU instead calls on the government to “assume its responsibilities with regard to the right to housing” and calls for the financing of 50,000 new social housing units in various forms over the next five years; public housing managed by municipal housing offices, cooperatives and non-profit housing organizations.

FRAPRU also calls for mandatory monitoring of all private rents as well as the establishment of a rent register allowing tenants to trace their evolutions.

Previous Article
Next Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *