1676385981 Is your rent increase justified or not

Is your rent increase justified or not?

Have you received your rent increase notice from your landlord? If this is not the case, it shouldn’t take long: If the lease starts on July 1st, the increase notices must be sent between January 1st and March 31st.

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On social networks, several tenants who have received theirs are confused and wondering whether their increase is justified or not. “Is an increase of 12.5% ​​per month for a heating rent justifiable?” asked a tenant on January 11th in a group on housing law.

Here is a little guide to find it better.

What costs can justify a rent increase?

A tenant’s rent increase is based on the Administrative Housing Tribunal’s (TAL) rent calculation grid, which summarizes all of a landlord’s expenses on his building, says housing attorney Me Vincent LaBoissonniere.

It includes average estimates for building management fees, council taxes, insurance, and the type of energy used for heating, such as electricity or gas. This network, diverted on January 17, provides for an average increase of 2.3% for unheated homes and 2.8% for electrically heated homes. This increase can exceed 2.9% for an unheated dwelling if we take into account the increase in council tax.

Recall that Montreal property taxes rose an average of 4.1% in 2023, the largest increase in the metropolis since 2011. In Quebec City, municipal housing taxes rose 2.5%, the largest since 15 years experience. .

Even if it’s not an obligation, the increase in insurance costs and council taxes can be passed on entirely between the tenants of a building, recalls Marc-André Plante, director of public affairs for the Corporation of Property Owners of Quebec (CORPIQ), an association from owners.

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Can a landlord raise the rent if they don’t renovate?

Yes. A rent increase covers not only the renovation of the building, but all related costs, our experts remind.

Also, a tenant cannot object to their rent increase because they are unhappy with their landlord’s maintenance of the apartment, Me LaBoissonnière says.

“We can’t justify refusing an increase in court on the pretext that our landlord didn’t fix the shower or a broken window,” he confirms.

However, we must be wary of rent increases justified by “major works” in the apartment, which are more routine maintenance of the building, warns Cedric Dussault, spokesman for the Regroupement des Committees Logement et Associations de Tenants du Québec (RCLALQ). A landlord could not justify his rent increase because, for example, he had to repair the defective shower.

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What is a rent increaseviolent”?

This question remains very subjective, but you can form an opinion based on the speakers’ answers.

A rent increase is abusive if it exceeds about 4%, says housing attorney Me LaBoissonnière. “For a $1,000 rent, that’s about $40 more per month. It’s still a lot,” he says.

In his experience, rent increases of less than 3% are readily accepted by tenants.

“An excessive increase is not supported by spending included in the TAL percentage grid,” specifies Me LaBoissonnière.

An opinion shared by RCLALQ spokesman Cédric Dussault. “The average TAL index [pour un logement non-chauffé] is 2.3% in 2023. If we greatly exceed this index, we can assume that it is an excessive increase.

Cédric Dussault, spokesman for the Regrouping of Housing Committees and Tenant Associations of Quebec (RCLALQ).

Jeremy Bernier / The Journal of Q

Cédric Dussault, spokesman for the Regrouping of Housing Committees and Tenant Associations of Quebec (RCLALQ).

However, the term “abusive” may not be used by either landlords or tenants, CORPIQ specifies. “Who can judge on an impartial basis whether a raise is abusive or not? You have to distance yourself from the situation. The 4% figure could be defensible for an owner and abusive for a tenant,” explains its spokesman Marc-André Plante.

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If we find the rent increase unreasonable, it is better to negotiate or contest it direct?

In view of this question, the experts agree: It would be better to come to an agreement before initiating lengthy rent determination proceedings in court. It should be remembered that according to the TAL Annual Report 2021-2022, the average time to obtain a first hearing was 9.9 months.

Me LaBoissonnière specifies that once the tenant has received his rent increase notice, he has three options: accept the increase, refuse the increase and leave his home, or refuse the increase and stay in his home.

If the tenant chooses the last option and no compromise is found, the landlord has one month after the tenant’s refusal to open a file to determine the rent. In this case, the court sets the rental price itself or decides on the increase on the basis of documents such as receipts or invoices.

But the lawyer is categorical: “Negotiations are the best option. In fact, it’s almost mandatory. That avoids a lot of conflicts.”

A CORPIQ survey released in mid-January shows that 35% of tenants felt the rent increase they received in 2022 was higher than expected. Conversely, 4% of respondents felt their raise was less than expected and 16% of respondents did not receive a raise.

After all, 44% of the tenants found their notice of rent increases in the past year to be “compliant” in the same tone of voice.

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Is there a minimum and maximum increase?

NO. A tenant may not get a rent increase one year and a big rent increase another year. Quebec Premier François Legault was clearly wrong on this issue in 2022: He erroneously stated that a “Quebec law prevents landlords from raising their rents by more than 1.28% for 2022.”

Also, a very persistent popular belief is that the average estimate provided by TAL – 2.3% in 2023 for unheated homes – applies to TAL for all tenants, adds Me LaBoissonnière.

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What to expect this year?

To give you an idea, the average base increase estimate for an unheated dwelling was 1.28% in 2022 and 2.3% in 2023. From 2013 to 2021, the TAL granted an average of 3.1% rent increase in the cases heard at the hearing Fixing the rent.

But what can tenants expect since there is no maximum rent increase?

CORPIQ, for its part, expects increases of between 3 and 4% due to inflation and interest rates.

The tenant defense RCLALQ is also considering a significant rent increase for the same reasons as CORPIQ, but without advancing the percentage. “What we are already hearing on site is that the increases are very high,” sends Cédric Dussault. He says he’s actually seen an increase of $200 a month in Cowansville on a rent of around $350.

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