Landlords face stiffer fines for neglected properties

by Jordan Maxwell11 Jun 2015
A decision to raise fines for landlords in Montreal failing to provide clean spaces for their tenants is being met with resistance from the Quebec Landlord Association, which says there’s a bigger issue at play.
“Rent control standards haven’t changed in 30 years and it’s made it hard for landlords to increase the rent to make a lot of the improvements to living standards that tenants are filing complaints about,” Kevin Lebeau, a spokesperson for the Quebec Landlord Association told CREW.
“What we’re seeing is that landlords are undergoing medium to large-scale renovations, but are not able to increase rents as a result so there’s less money for them to address other issues when they arise.”
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre opted to raise fine for first-time offenders from $200 to $4,000 up to $250 to $5,000.
After a series of high-profile abuses that have taken place in the Montreal rental housing market, politicians are hoping the move will force landlords to clean things up and ensure livable spaces.
“It's a message to landlords that they if they don't make the corrections necessary, they're going to be hit with higher fines and often when they see we're pursuing, then the corrections are made,” said Russell Copeman, executive committee member, in a press conference on the issue.
The city has four tools it uses to collect fines: issuing warnings, ordering tenants to evacuate their home, carrying out work itself and making a landlord pay.
Still, over the past decade, according to figures, the city has issued approximately $1.5-million in fines, but collected less than half of that amount.
The QLA have sent out a request to the mayor’s office so they can make their positions on the issue clear, but until then, Lebeau says, the challenges for landlords to provide cleaner spaces could keep more prospective landlords from entering the market.
“It’s really become an issue that is discouraging investors coming to Montreal,” he said. “There are some great properties available and opportunities to invest, but until the provincial regulations fall in line with municipal standards, it’ll be tough for investors, who are getting punished for the sake of a few.” 

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