Montreal

New Montreal website lists prices of rental units, draws ire of landlords

A new website called myrent.quebec has only been up and running for a few weeks but it’s already stirring up controversy in the real estate market.

Myrent.quebec, founded by a non-profit group, allows tenants to post rental prices on interactive online map

A new website was founded by a non-profit group so that rent prices are made public. (Radio-Canada)

A new website called myrent.quebec has only been up and running for a few weeks but it's already stirring up controversy in the real estate market.

The site, founded by a non-profit group, features an interactive map listing information about rental units, including:

  • The cost of rent.
  • The address.
  • The size of the unit.
  • The average cost of electricity.
  • Conditions, such as allowing smoking or pets.

So far, there are hundreds of entries for the Montreal area. The site's founders hope to expand it to include data for the rest of the province.

Julien Fortier, co-founder of myrent.quebec, told CBC Montreal's Daybreak that the idea was to make public as much information as possible about the rental-housing market.

"When you go to the grocery store, you can compare prices and the colour of apples," Fortier said. "But you can't do that with rent because it takes too much time to go around and visit them all."

Fortier said they hope to provide people with the information they need to be able to challenge landlords who may be trying to rip them off.

And while there is some information out there on rent in the province, Fortier said their goal is to provide more detailed statistics on how much people pay every month, and what they get for their money.
Julien Fortier, co-founder of myrent.quebec, said the hope is to provide renters with the information they need to be able to challenge landlords who may be trying to rip them off. (Gregory Todaro/CBC)

Fortier and his fellow co-founder, Luis Nobre, contacted city councillors for support.

They got funding from some boroughs, including Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie and the Plateau-Mont-Royal.

"There is a real need to know more about the price of rent. More information is just positive," Fortier said.

Reliable data?

But the web site has drawn the ire of the Quebec Landlords Corporation (CORPIQ), one of Quebec's largest landlords' associations.

Hans Brouillette, CORPIQ's public affairs director, says no measures are in place to ensure the data entered by the public is accurate.

"It is very easy to declare bogus information and rents on this website, and anybody can experience it and I know people that have done it. Therefore it is a shame to learn that Plateau-Mont-Royal, Rosemont-Petite-Patrie were [boroughs] where public money was invested into this project," Brouillette said.
Myrent.quebec is an interactive map that allows people to enter data about their rental units and prices. (Myrent.quebec)

"It is not something realistic to see such a registry of all leases in Montreal."

People have to enter a valid email address before they can submit the information to the website. Fortier and Nobre want to implement more measures in the future in order to to verify the data, such as having to provide a proof of address.

"That's for sure that anybody can write anything on the website, but you have to give people faith and hope that most people are honest and do it for the right reasons," said Nobre.

With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak

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