Quebec's Rental Board is recommending increases in rent under one per cent for 2010. ((CBC))

The average recommended increase in rent released by Quebec's Rental Board won't even begin to cover the costs of maintenance in most apartment buildings, the province's landlords association said Thursday.

The estimated increase in rent for an unheated apartment building should be roughly 0.8 per cent, the Rental Board said in its annual list of recommendations released Thursday.

The cost for those heated with electricity should increase 1 per cent, the board said.

The cost for those heated with gas and heating oil should drop – 0.5 per cent and 7.9 per cent respectively, the board said.

However, officials pointed out that the recommendations do not take into account variations in taxes or the cost of major improvements to the buildings, the provincial agency said.

Many tenants are likely to see much larger increases proposed by their landlords, the Quebec landlord association said.

If landlords followed the board’s guidelines, the quality of the province’s rental housing stock would continue to decline, said the group’s president Martin Messier.

"The government sends really the wrong message to landlords today," Messier said.  "They're telling them 'You can't invest, you can't repair.' 


Quebec Landlords Association president Martin Messier says the increases proposed by the board won't cover the maintenance cost in most buildings. ((CBC))

"Those rates are crazy and we need to revise them as soon as possible if we don't want to have to face the long-term effect."

But tenant’s rights groups are advising people, who face rent increases that seem abusive, to contest them.

More than 200,000 households in the province spent more than half of their income on rent, according to social housing group FRAPRU.

"Landlords often ask for more because, unfortunately, many tenants hesitate to take advantage of their rights," said Nicole Dionne of Quebec City housing group BAIL