Asking for illegal rent deposits common among Quebec landlords, says new survey
Landlords say it's difficult to hold tenants accountable if they damage apartment
About one-third of landlords in Quebec have asked tenants for an illegal deposit, according to a recent survey by the landlord association CORPIQ.
Landlords say they did so because there's no way to guarantee tenants will pay rent, or even leave the apartment undamaged, when the lease is up.
A tenants' rights group is countering that deposits discriminate against low-income tenants.
CORPIQ's survey found that 33 per cent of landlords had at some point asked a tenant to pay extra money beyond their rent — whether in the form of a security deposit, key deposit or even the last month's rent in advance.
Because of this, the organization is asking the Quebec government to change its laws so that landlords can legally request deposits.
"One-fourth of all landlords who had a tenant leaving on July 1 — [the tenant] still owed them money," CORPIQ spokesperson Hans Brouillette told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.
He said that even though there are laws that state a person has to leave their apartment in good condition, it's difficult to track down tenants who leave a mess.
He said that if tenants don't have the money for a security deposit, they should consider if the apartment they are renting is actually affordable to them.
"The landlords are not social welfare," Brouillette said.
Fear of discrimination
Martin Blanchard is a community organizer at the Comité logement de la Petite-Patrie, a tenants' rights group.
He says landlords are regularly trying to get the Quebec government to approve rent deposits and that their survey is just the latest way they are doing it.
He said in places where there are security deposits it can be a way for landlords to abuse their power.
"It will be a way to discriminate against low-income tenants," Blanchard said.
A spokesperson for Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux, who is responsible for Quebec's rental board, the Regie du logement, said legislative changes may be possible.
"We remain concerned about ensuring a proper balance between the rights of tenants and landlords," Marie-Ève Pelletier stated in an email.
with files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak