COVID-19: groups of tenants require a “pardon ” ministerial” for the non-payment of rent for April

In the midst of a crisis of the COVID-19, one week before the 1st April, groups of tenants are asking the government of Quebec to ban any eviction from housing due to non-payment of next months rent.

“To bring down the stress in the tenants vulnerable, it is important to know now that any attempt of eviction due to non-payment of rent for April, 2020 will be prohibited,” says the spokesperson of the Front of popular action in urban redevelopment (FRAPRU), Véronique Laflamme, by means of a press release on Wednesday.

Last week, Quebec has declared a moratorium on the eviction of tenants and the suspension of the majority of hearings at the Régie du logement, as long as the state of public health emergency will be in effect.

However, the FRAPRU and the Grouping of committees, housing and tenant associations of Quebec (RCLALQ) want to see the government go further by prohibiting outright to the owners to claim the eviction of their tenants due to non-payment of the next month’s rent.

“See a wave of evictions would have catastrophic consequences for Quebec then it will be in the process of recovering from the most severe public health crisis in its history”, explains the spokesperson of the RCLALQ, Marjolaine Deneault.

Moreover, the two groups call for emergency assistance for households that are already struggling to make ends meet due to the impacts of the COVID-19.

“For the 457 275 tenant households investing more than the norm of 30 % of their income on rent, especially the 195 645 and paying more than 50 %, a loss of employment could lead them to the street,” says the spokesperson for the RCLALQ, Marjolaine Deneault.

In a context where the existing programs do not replace all of the revenue and where the benefits are slow to arrive given the number of applicants who explodes, the two groups call for the rapid implementation of measures to prevent some households from taking on more debt.

Among other things, the introduction of a special program to supplement the emergency rent for low-income households. And the creation of an assistance fund dedicated to the payment of the rent for those who would be excluded because of previous income is too high.

As these programs should be managed by the federal government, the FRAPRU and the RCLALQ appeal to the prime minister of Québec, François Legault, in order to put pressure on his counterpart in Ottawa.

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