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My first piece for OpenFile Montreal was published last month.   Does the current structure of the rental board favour landlords over tenants?

Quebec’s Régie du logement (the rental board) is a tribunal tasked with overseeing residential lease matters. It makes decisions on complaints and publishes guidelines on rent increases to try to make the relationship more fair for all parties. As a result of the Régie, it is illegal for landlords to ask for first and last month’s rent, or even for a security deposit. Created in 1980, the Régie was intended to be an independent tribunal to serve both landlords and tenants.

The wait for a rental board hearing, however, has increased dramatically over the past decades, and can range from 1.3-15.1 months. The Régie has several categories that it uses when scheduling hearings: non-payment of rent (average waiting time for a first hearing in 2010-2011: 1.3 months), urgent civil cases (1.4 months), rent fixation and revision (9.8 months), priority civil cases (10 months) and general civil cases (15.1 months).

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