Housing Advocacy

We receive a large number of calls from tenants and landlords enquiring about their rights.

In the case of problems with a landlord, unsanitary housing, conflicts with neighbours or a sudden increase in rent, many are unaware of their resources or need assistance to undertake certain procedures.

You should know that there are social and community organizations that can help you enforce your rights and get information about housing.

 

Common topics and enquiries to the 211 -

Answers from Comité Logement Rosemont

 

Comité Logement Rosemont

 

Community Organizations and Housing Rights

Housing Committees and Tenant Associations

Most housing committees and tenant associations offer individual appointment periods during which it is possible to explain, in confidentiality, a problematic situation. Depending on the case, it will be possible to start some procedures on the spot or to plan a follow-up. More often than not, it will be an opportunity to obtain specific and documented advice to support your demands.

This may involve writing letters and formal notices, telephone solicitation or giving support to prepare a case for a hearing, etc. Do not forget that your housing committee can help you throughout these procedures, so contact them if your problem is still unresolved.

Organizations can also refer individuals to additional services, depending on their needs. Furthermore, other groups provide information and consultation on tenants’ rights (see Helpful links below).

Find your housing committee or tenant association.

Information, Awareness and Popular Education Organizations

Housing committees and tenant associations also work to educate the public about housing rights and current issues. This important education and outreach work can range from informal discussion to structured workshops, or even spaces where citizens can share their experiences and where their knowledge is valued. Several organizations also create backgrounders, in print or digital form, to reach as many people as possible.

Organizations of Collective Mobilization

Finally, housing rights organizations mostly fight for collective issues and improvement of housing conditions that can benefit everyone. To this end, they speak out publicly, support projects, lobby to elected representatives, participate in relevant public consultations and take part in rallies and demonstrations.

Find a collective mobilization organization dedicated to housing rights.

Landlord Associations

In the case of a dispute with a tenant, unpaid rents or poorly maintained dwellings, landlords also seek information about their rights and resources. In Greater Montreal, two associations can provide help in this regard:

Sanitary conditions, mould and bed bugs

Sanitation is undoubtedly one of the current challenges in housing rights. While it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that the apartment meets some minimum requirements for the tenant, many tenants are struggling to get their dwelling compliant due to the presence of insects, rodents or mould, to name only a few issues.

Even if your housing committee or tenant association can assist you in your efforts, it may be interesting to know that cities have health regulations and that they are responsible for enforcing them. In the City of Montreal, for example, the By-law concerning the sanitation, maintenance and safety of dwelling units allows each borough to intervene, ask for corrective measures and, in some cases, impose fines to wrongful landlords. You can reach your borough’s office by dialling 3-1-1. If you are from outside of Montreal, you are not left without resources! Most cities have health regulations, and you can contact the urban planning and development office for information, assistance or complaints

Bed bugs are particularly common in Montreal, and the city released documents on this subject in 20 languages: http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/bedbugs/.

Legal framework for housing

In Quebec, issues between landlords and tenants are mostly regulated by the Civil Code of Québec and by the Act respecting the Régie du logement. The latter, enacted in 1979, announces the creation of an administrative tribunal of the same name which is granted exclusive jurisdiction in this matter. More precisely:

The Régie du logement is the only body that can hear these kinds of cases:

  • cases about residential leases when the amount or value claimed is less than $70,000;
  • cases about renewing a lease, setting the rent, repossession of a dwelling, a subdivision, a change of use, a substantial enlargement of the dwelling, or about a lease for low-rent housing, no matter how much money is involved.

The Régie can also make decisions regarding these issues:

  • demolition of a dwelling in a municipality where no by-law covers the situation;
  • sale or transfer of a building in a housing complex;
  • conversion of a building into condos;
  • depositing rent. [1]

Tenants experiencing difficulties with their landlord or who fail to enforce the rights granted to them under the above legislation may seek assistance from the housing committee or tenant association in their neighborhood. These organizations have the knowledge and expertise to guide them in their endeavours.

Helpful links

Some organizations answer online to frequently asked questions by tenants:

 [1] Éducaloi, « The Régie du logement (rental board) », https://www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/regie-du-logement-rental-board

 

Update: August 18, 2017 - By Emely Lefrançois, Documentation agent.