Rental security deposits are legal, Quebec landlords’ association says

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However, two major tenants’ groups say CORPIQ has engaged in an “extrapolation” of the rental board decision that is “very worrisome.”

“The law is very clear: security deposits are illegal and they didn’t suddenly become legal overnight,” said Maxime Roy-Allard of the Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ).

Roy-Allard said many tenants would simply agree to the illegal deposit, knowing that if they refused they would be denied a lease.

The same reaction was offered by the Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), which said CORPIQ’s interpretation would “incite landlords not only to ask for a security deposit, but even demand it.”

“We’re in a context where tenants are so desperate,” said FRAPRU spokesperson Véronique Laflamme. “Tenants have their backs to the wall at the moment. Many are ready to do anything to sign a lease. … It’s often not voluntary, but tenants have no other choice.”

That situation leads Laflamme to question whether any such consent would be given freely and voluntarily, especially when many tenants have no idea of their rights. She added that access to housing is already difficult, with tenants being discriminated against or simply unable to afford high rents.

Both tenants’ groups are urging the Quebec government to send a clear signal that would avoid a sudden wave of requests for security deposits.

Quebec housing minister  Andrée Laforest declined to be interviewed on the subject.

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