Seniors hit hard by rent hikes, local groups say

By Gordon Lambie

The AQDR Sherbrooke, the local branch of Quebec’s association for the rights or retired people and those preparing for retirement, and the Sherbrooke renters’ association are sounding the alarm when it comes to time impact of rent increases on seniors in the region. According to a press release issued jointly this week, the two groups have been receiving a higher than normal volume of calls over the last several weeks from elderly renters who say that their rent has been increased by as much as $40 to $50 per month. “At this time of year we always receive some phone calls asking if the price of the rent is okay,” said Isabelle Guérard, coordinator of AQDR Sherbrooke, “Often it is, but this year, because of the municipal tax increase, it’s a lot higher.” Guérard pointed out that there is no specific legal limit on how much landlords can increase rent, but the Régie du logement, Quebec’s housing board, makes a recommendation on what could be considered reasonable. In 2020, that recommendation is 1.2 per cent for an apartment without heat included, when added to a 1.9 per cent increase for municipal taxes, however, that makes a total of 3.1 per cent. The calls that the AQDR and the renters’ association have been receiving, meanwhile, have sometimes been for increases of more than 4.5 per cent. “The reality is that people cannot pay that much each month,” the AQDR coordinator said. See full story in the Thursday, Feb. 6 edition of The Record.

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