Illegal Increase: She wins against her landlords who wanted to double her rent

A 79-year-old Montrealer who has fired her landlord in court for trying to double her rent is urging tenants to fight for their rights.

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“I’m so happy and relieved! It caused me so much stress, I lost sleep because she asked me $510 more! I can’t afford it,” rejoices Judith Wong, who will soon celebrate her 80th birthday.

Established since 1998 on Boulevard de l’Acadie in Montreal, Mme Wong pays $615 for his 4 1/2. For a year, she had been fighting against her landlords who tried to practically double her rent of 25 years.

Due to the ill health of the building’s owner, his wife and daughter took over management in 2019. It was they who opened a file in the Administrative Housing Tribunal (TAL) in April 2022.

“The landlord is asking the court to increase the tenant’s rent to $1,125 per month, alleging that the current rent paid is priority rent ($615),” reads the decision handed down in April.

According to two women who inherited the units, the deceased in May 2021 managed the building improperly, which is why the rent was so low, compared to similar apartments around.

“Every year, we got a $10 raise. This man took good care of his building: he took care to keep it clean, he cleared the entrance of snow. He was a good owner,” says Wong.

Resale of building

During the trial, the owner’s daughter said, “The building will be put up for sale and [que] It was for this reason that her mother took up the rent adjustment proceedings,” it said.

“She got away with it and it showed her bad faith,” said Mme Wong says he would pay $25 or $50 more to avoid going to TAL.

After the decision, both landlords have until April 7 to send specified documents to TAL so that the rent can be set fairly.

“But they never sent the documents so I could continue paying the $615. People have to fight and not give up,” says the man who is happy to have gone to the end of the process to assert his rights.

Fears persist

Despite the joy of winning this struggle against his owners, Mme Wong is already gearing up to fight back in the next few years.

“If they sell the building, the new owners may want to raise the rent or ‘renovate’ me. It worries me because you never know what will happen when you’re a tenant,” he says, adding that he plans to demonstrate in Quebec on Monday to assert tenants’ rights.

In this neighborhood, one of Canada’s poorest, requests for help from tenants are at an all-time high, confirms Andre Trebagnier, a community organizer with the park-expansion action group.

“We’ve never been so busy. In twelve years, I have never seen it,” he explains.

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