Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “It’s a great day,” said the Minister of Housing, France-Élaine Duranceau, who we see here in September, at the end of the committee on Tuesday, admitting in the same breath that the bill, to he alone will not solve the housing crisis.
Thomas Laberge – The Canadian Press in Quebec
As the housing crisis continues to grow, the detailed study of Bill 31, which will notably limit the use of lease assignment, ended on Tuesday . Québec solidaire (QS) tried until the end to propose amendments, but in vain.
Its adoption could take place at the beginning of next week, according to the Minister of Housing, France-Élaine Duranceau.
Before adoption, there remains the stage of consideration of the commission's report by the Assembly.
“It’s a great day,” said the minister at the end of the committee, admitting in the same breath that the bill, on its own, will not resolve the housing crisis.
Solidarity deputy Andrés Fontecilla, for his part, raised several criticisms of the legislative text during his final remarks. “I can only oppose the adoption of Bill 31,” he said Tuesday.
The study of the bill was laborious. Last October, the commission was suspended because several articles had to be rewritten. Opposition parties criticized the minister, accusing her of being disorganized.
A few days later, France-Élaine Duranceau said that if the bill was not adopted before the end of 2023, the opposition would carry the “burden” of vulnerable tenants. A statement that ignited the powder. The oppositions slammed the door of the commission which was studying the bill to denounce the “blackmail” and the “arrogance” of the minister.
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In her final remarks on Tuesday, Liberal MP Virginie Dufour described the study of the legislative document as “arduous”. “It was even chaotic with the number of amendments which sometimes changed the very nature of the bill,” she said.
The issue of lease assignments
Bill 31 has provoked several outcries, particularly because it attacks the transfer of leases. The bill provides that an owner may refuse a transfer for reasons other than serious ones.
The oppositions sought to bend the minister on this issue with several amendments, but she remained inflexible, insisting that it was not the right tool to control the price of rent.
Last week, Andrés Fontecilla also proposed amendments to expand the “Françoise David law,” aimed at better protecting seniors from evictions. The government side also rejected the proposals to modify QS.
France-Élaine Duranceau justified her refusal by asserting that her bill will put in place several mechanisms to protect tenants against evictions regardless of their age. In particular, it will reverse the burden of proof in eviction cases to place responsibility on the shoulders of the owner.
Also, if a tenant does not respond to an eviction notice, we will not consider that he has accepted it by default, as is currently the case. Finally, the legislative document will also oblige the owner who evicts a tenant to compensate him in the amount of one month's rent per year of continuous residence in the accommodation.
The minister also had to defend a controversial amendment which will allow municipalities with at least 10,000 inhabitants and whose vacancy rate is less than 3% to ignore its urban planning regulations for the construction of a minimum of three housing.
A municipality may also deviate from these rules if the construction project is mainly composed of social or affordable housing or housing for students. The municipality that wants to use this measure will only have to hold a public meeting and such an exceptional regime will have a maximum duration of five years.
The opposition parties fear that this modification will have perverse effects in terms of town planning.