The security deposit requested “more than ever”, but remains illegal
More and more landlords are asking their tenants to pay them a sum of money when signing a lease in anticipation of potential debts. This practice, the security deposit, remains illegal.
“As this is an illegal practice, it is impossible to provide exact figures. But I can guarantee you that the housing committees are being called more and more with regard to the security deposit, ”says the spokesperson for the Regroupement des Comités Logement et Associations de Tenants du Québec (RCLALQ), Martin Blanchard.
Shortly after his election, the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) flirted with the idea of authorizing this practice. However, the security deposit remained illegal, despite pressure from the Quebec Landlords Association (APQ).
As the deposit must be refunded when tenants leave, it would serve to encourage tenants to leave their apartment clean when they leave, it is believed. Victims of vandalism, landlords sometimes have to pay large sums for repairs, or even suffer the non-payment of rent.
“It should not be forgotten that it is not only the owners of dwellings who suffer inconvenience during ransacks. New tenants who cannot move in suffer just as much damage,” considers the APQ.
But the RCLALQ finds this argument unfair and “anecdotal”, considering that no statistics exist on vandalism in housing. If some tenants leave their apartment in poor condition, it is because of their dilapidation, we plead. “In Quebec, the rental stock is aging, 65% of housing is over 30 years old,” notes Mr. Blanchard.
The introduction of a security deposit would constitute another barrier to access to housing, it is added, as tenants already lack the cash to pay their rent in the current market. “It would be super harmful, it would block access to housing for a majority of tenants. The human damage would be immense,” said Mr. Blanchard.
Coercive measures should be imposed on owners who impose a security deposit, asks the RCLALQ. For the moment, it is difficult for a tenant who is asked for one at the signing of the lease to react. Given the scarcity of housing, agreeing to make a deposit can be tempting to ensure you get your hands on an apartment. But it would be best to report a landlord’s attempt to their local housing committee, Blanchard said.
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