Housing | A nightmarish situation

The author is addressing the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Andrée Laforest

Minister, this year I told my landlord that I would be leaving in July. But now, in any case, I would have imagined finding myself in such a nightmarish situation! I never imagined that our government could have allowed such a fiasco to happen.

Tell me, in Quebec, to what extent does a person have to accept being humiliated in order to have a roof under which to live and take care of their family?

The apartments available are rare, the prices exorbitant. But apart from these two problems, another even more devious one is becoming more and more established in our reality. Are you aware that having children has become a nuisance and, therefore, a reason for exclusion for a large number of owners? Do you know that social assistance recipients are considered by the majority of people as vulgar pariahs without even having taken the time to meet them?

Have we really reached this stage in our beautiful Quebec society renowned for its welcome and benevolence?

For many, looking for an apartment means having to live with the turmoil, the stress and the pressure due to the feeling of rejection caused by the search for accommodation. Have you thought about the children who feel partly responsible for being the cause of this refusal? They who are supposed to be the jewels of our society, those who will form the people of tomorrow are, in 2022, perceived as harmful and pestiferous beings. And you, people of power who have the possibility of correcting this filthy and insane situation, are you at least aware of its existence?

Good tenant

The fact of being a mother with a child, of paying my rent without the slightest delay, of having a letter of recommendation from my former landlord, of never having had a file with the Régie du logement (today the Tribunal administratif du logement), not having animals, not smoking anything and being an extremely clean and tidy person shouldn’t that be enough for a landlord to deign to accept my application?

How can my daily activities have any impact on an owner who often does not even live there? Whether I’m at home teaching my son or I’m a teacher teaching in a school and being paid by an employer, how does that difference matter to a landlord if the rent is given to them every month? as planned and that the premises are well maintained?

I propose as a solution the creation of a database at the provincial level which, on its own (no more illegal credit inquiries), would be used by the owner to determine whether or not a person is accepted or refused. This register would give landlords access to a directory so that they know who the real tenants at risk are: those who have had rent arrears, unpaid rent, those who have damaged their apartments, who have made them unsanitary, who did not respect the clauses of the lease, etc., so that we leave the peace once and for all to those who have nothing to reproach themselves for! Because being less well off should no longer be synonymous with bad debt!

Urgency to act

The Human Rights Commission exists, of course, but having repeatedly seen advertisements clearly indicating that people ALONE are welcome, that children are not allowed, that people who do not have a job have to abstain, that we have to provide three pay stubs, that we have to pay ourselves for the credit check, etc., it seems obvious to me that the owners don’t care about the laws! They don’t even hide it anymore!

These laws are supposed to protect citizens wishing to rent a place to live; they obviously don’t.

On the other hand, the cost of rent is exorbitant. HLMs do not supply on demand. Some wait more than 10 years! Don’t you consider that having a roof is a necessity in everyone’s life? And by “roof”, I don’t mean a luxurious place, but a decent and safe apartment. As I write these lines, these places are renting at prices that are approaching those of luxury apartments on the market 10 years ago. But I imagine that this problem, you already knew it.

To be aware of something is good. Action is even better! And acting does not mean thinking for five years and taking another five years to solve the problem. Here, now, there is urgency!

I therefore ask you to report these problems to the National Assembly so that solutions can be found and immediate action taken with the aim of putting an end to this exclusion, this sorting and this systematic contempt which is only aggravate. This way of doing things must stop.

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