Do long rental board wait times favour landlords?

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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