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Montreal's Renters Are Sharing Information To Prevent Price-Gouging

Huffington Post Canada logo Huffington Post Canada 2017-06-19 Jessica Chin

Montreal's renters are sharing information about how much they pay, and landlords are not happy.

A non-profit group has launched the site MyRent.quebec, where users can share and compare monthly rental rates and other details about their apartments such as utilities and whether pets are allowed.

The site shows an interactive map with hundreds of blue dots, which, when clicked, shows all the information a tenant has provided about where they live.

MyRent.quebec's founders said they want to make the information easily and readily accessible.

Luis Nobre told CBC Montreal that having this kind of info will help tenants have a better idea if a landlord's rates are reasonable or out-of-line for the neighbourhood.

"Any common people like me would like to know what is the price, like when they travel around Montreal would like to know what is the average here for a 4 1/2 or a 5 1/2?"

In Quebec, apartments are listed as 1 1/2, 2 1/2, 3 1/2, and so on, with the 1/2 representing a bathroom.

Landlord association says site is illegal

Denis Miron of Quebec's rental board told CTV Montreal even if a tenant finds out after signing a lease that their rent is too high, they can apply for a rent change.

"Even though he already signed his lease, he has 10 days to apply to the Regie [du logement] to fix maybe a new rent," he said.

Hans Brouillette of the landlords' association CORPIQ said collecting and sharing information about rental rates is against the law, even though apartment listings are publicly available.

"(The site) provides personal and confidential information about our leases, our rents, our incomes," Brouillette told CTV.

But there one major problem with the website, its co-founders admit.

Right now, users only need to enter a valid email address in order to add information, but Nobre and Fortier are hoping to add proof of address as a verification measure in the future.

"That's for sure that anybody can write anything on the website, but you have to give people faith and hope that most people are honest and do it for the right reasons," Nobre told CBC News.

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