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Housing Shortage in Quebec: A Bill for a Three-Year Moratorium on Evictions

Last Modification: 23 May 2024
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In the context of an unprecedented housing shortage, the Quebec government recently announced Bill 65, aimed at limiting landlords' right to eviction and strengthening tenant protection, especially for seniors. Bill 65 temporarily amends the Civil Code so that no tenant can be evicted from their dwelling for the next three years. It is a moratorium, an exceptional measure.

What is an Eviction?

Eviction is the process by which a landlord terminates a tenant's lease, often for specific reasons such as reclaiming the dwelling for personal or family use. Normally, a landlord can evict a tenant for several reasons, such as:

  • Reclaiming the dwelling for personal habitation or for a family member.
  • Carrying out major renovations that require the tenant to leave.
  • Changing the use of the dwelling, for example, converting it into commercial space.

However, Bill 65 temporarily amends the Civil Code to protect tenants in the current housing crisis context.

Bill 65: What You Need to Know

The legislative text provides that it will be prohibited for a landlord to evict a tenant for the following reasons for a period of three years:

  • Subdividing a dwelling.
  • Substantially enlarging a dwelling.
  • Changing the use of a dwelling.

However, a landlord can still reclaim a dwelling to house a family member. Bill 65 temporarily amends the Civil Code so that no tenant can be evicted for the next three years, unless it is to house a family member of the landlord.

Exceptions and Important Details to Bill 65

It's important to note that eviction notices sent before the bill was introduced are not covered by this moratorium. In other words, evictions scheduled for July 1, 2024, will not be affected if the notice was sent before May 22, 2023.

The government reserves the right to exclude certain regions from the moratorium if the vacancy rate reaches 3%, an indicator of a balanced rental market. Currently, for cities with 10,000 inhabitants and more, this rate is slightly above 1%, according to statistics from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in 2023.

What is a Renoviction?

A renoviction occurs when a landlord evicts a tenant under the pretext of performing major renovations, often with the aim of re-renting the dwelling at a higher price after the work is completed. This term has become common in cities where the demand for housing far exceeds the supply, leading to significant rent increases.

Impact of Bill 65 on Renovictions

Bill 65 aims to curb renovictions by making it illegal to evict for substantial enlargement or change in use of a dwelling. Landlords will therefore need to reconsider their renovation plans that would require their tenants to leave, unless these renovations are absolutely necessary and the tenants agree to leave voluntarily.

Conclusion

Bill 65 represents an exceptional measure taken by the Quebec government to protect tenants in a context of severe housing shortage. As a landlord or tenant, it is crucial to understand your rights and stay informed of legislative changes. For additional information regarding your rights and obligations as a tenant or landlord, contact Gail Meili, a residential real estate agent based in Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC, at gailmeili@icloud.com or call 514 969-4134. Working closely with industry professionals, Gail Meili will be able to guide you to the appropriate experts to help you understand your rights and stay informed of legislative developments.

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