Montreal landlords can, in theory, raise the rent by any amount they desire. But it's not quite as simple as that. Don't forget, tenants in Montreal have rights. Quebec rental board Régie du logement sees to it.
Rules About Raising Rent in Montreal
Landlords can raise the rent by any amount they choose, but the tenant must be in full agreement with the increase. Montreal tenants cannot be evicted for refusing a rent increase but in order to benefit from that protection, lessees must abide by the lease agreement and continue to pay rent on time regardless of any disagreement with lessors.
In order to minimize landlord-tenant disputes and tribunal hearings requiring the Quebec Rental Board's attention, the Régie du logement sets rent increase guidelines every year under the guise of helping lessors and lessees come to a fair agreement without formal intervention from The Régie.
The Régie adjusts rental hike recommendations every year around January and relies on three major factors to determine fair rent increase guidelines.
- Operating costs: how the dwelling is heated has an impact as well as whether heating costs are included in the rent.
- Property taxes: if municipal and school taxes went up for landlords then it's only fair that tenants carry the burden as well.
- Renovations or major repairs: any upgrades and repair costs incurred by lessors can be factored in rent increases.
The Régie provides a calculation grid on their website to help landlords and tenants determine an exact and fair increase that factors in the variables above as well as each dwelling's unique characteristics and situation. To speed up the process, The Régie also offers estimation guidelines to quickly determine whether the landlord's proposed rent hike is within the set guidelines.
2017 Rent Increase Guidelines
Note that the following percentages are estimates only and differ from what percentages are used on the formal calculation grid. These estimates are a shortcut, a short form strategy for calculating whether a landlord is proposing a fair increase since a tenant would require access to the landlord's bills and receipts to use the precise calculation grid.
Some landlords refuse requests to sit down together and use the calculation grid with receipts in hand, hence the usefulness of the following percentages in determining whether a tenant should contact the Régie du logement to request it intervene and calculate the rent increase on behalf of the landlord itself.
The following Quebec rent increase estimates apply from April 1, 2017 to April 1, 2018.
- 0.6% for unheated dwellings (was 0.4% in 2016, 0.6% in 2015, 0.6% in 2014, 0.8% in 2013, 0.6% in 2012, 0.5% in 2011, 0.8% in 2010, 0.6% in 2009, 0.7% in 2008)
- 0.1% for gas heating included in the rent (was 0.2% in 2016, 1.8% in 2015, 1.1% in 2014, 1.1% in 2013, 0% in 2012, was 0.6% in 2011, -0.5% in 2010, 1.8% in 2009, 0.5% in 2008)
- 0.6% for electrical heating included in the rent (was 0.7% in 2016, 1.0% in 2015, 1.1% in 2014, 1.1% in 2013, 0.7% in 2012, 0.6% in 2011, 1.0% in 2010, 0.8% in 2009, 0.8% in 2008)
- -2.0% for oil heating included in the rent (was -4.2% in 2016, 1.4% in 2015, 0.6% in 2014, 0.6% in 2013, 3.6% in 2012, 2.7% in 2011, -7.9% in 2010, 5.1% in 2009, 1.3% in 2008)
Therefore, a tenant who paid $700 rent with electrical heating included in it in 2016 could see that increase to $704.20 in 2017.
JANUARY 30, 2017 UPDATE: The Régie omitted estimates for 2017 which housing activists are protesting since, without them, it's impossible for a tenant to get a sense of whether a rent increase is fair if their landlord refuses to transparently share their expense receipts and sit down with the tenant to complete the calculation grid. Whether the Régie du logement backtracks on its decision to withhold estimates this year remains to be seen.
FEBRUARY 9, 2017: The Régie has changed its mind, ostensibly in part due to tenants rights backlash, and resumed publishing rent estimates.
Major Repairs and Improvements in 2017
Renovations and repairs are factored in at 2.4% in 2017 (was 2.5% in 2016, 2.9% in 2015, 2.6% in 2014, 2.9% in 2012, 3.0% in 2011, 2.9% in 2010, 4.0% in 2009, 4.3% in 2008).
So, let's say a landlord spent $2,000 in the past year specifically renovating your dwelling, then the lessor has the right to claim 2.4% of those costs, dividing that number by twelve months. Thus, the above landlord can add $4 extra ($2,000 x .024 = $48 /12 = $4) to your monthly rent on top of basic guideline hikes covering operational costs, overall building renovations, and property and school tax increases.
Property Taxes for 2017
Find out if property taxes increased in your area by calling (514) 872-2305* to check municipal tax hikes and (514) 384-5034 for school taxes. It's in your best interest to know because tax hikes could lead a landlord to share the additional expenses with tenants.
What to Do If Your Rent Increase Is Too High
If the proposed rent increase is significantly higher than what the above guidelines suggest it should be and your landlord refuses to sit down with you and transparently share their receipts and calculate their expenses using the official calculation grid to show how they came up with their proposed increase, then you might want to consider contesting the rent increase by contesting it which leaves it in the hands of the Régie du logement to decide what the increase should be in place of the landlord.
*This number is no longer in service. Residents are advised to call 311 instead.