The number of eviction notices in Quebec has surged to more than five times what it was in 2020.  

According to recent data compiled by the Coalition for Housing Committees and Tenants Association of Quebec, there has been a 132% increase in the number of notices issued to tenants this year. 

This dramatic rise represents a jump from 1,525 cases last year to 3,531 cases in 2023, marking the highest count ever recorded by the tenant advocacy organization. In 2020, the number was 757, five times less than today.

“These figures represent a tiny fraction of the cases reported to housing committees. In reality, there are many more than that,” said Cédric Dussault, spokesperson for the organization, according to Le Soleil.

The figures gathered from around fifty housing committees across Quebec indicate a growing trend. These figures do not include evicted tenants in regions not covered by these committees or those who haven’t sought their assistance, meaning the actual number is likely higher.

Historically, evictions were predominantly concentrated in major centres like Montreal, which accounted for 85% of such cases just two years ago. However, the recent trend indicates a geographical spread, with evictions affecting tenants across various regions of Quebec. 

“A year or two ago, some committees saw virtually no eviction cases. Now, many of them are in great demand from evicted tenants looking for help,” Dussault reported.

The increase in evictions has been partly attributed to landlords seeking to raise rents. With the housing market evolving, landlords are reportedly looking for ways to augment their income by increasing rental prices, often leading to the displacement of existing tenants.

The Civil Code of Quebec allows landlords to reclaim dwellings for personal use or family members or if they plan to renovate, demolish, or repurpose the property. However, evicting tenants solely for renovation without proper justification is illegal. The tenant coalition asserts that a significant portion of these evictions are under false pretenses.

“A large proportion of evictions are fraudulent. Landlords use a pretext to ask tenants to leave,” said Dussault.

In response to this escalating crisis, the housing group suggested that landlords be mandated to demonstrate the authenticity of their reasons for eviction a year after the act. This measure aims to curb instances of dishonest evictions. The coalition also recommends that landlords seek approval from the Administrative Housing Tribunal before issuing eviction notices.

Under current law, tenants have a month to respond to eviction notices.

Despite the upcoming enactment of Bill 31, which mandates landlords to appear before the housing tribunal and offers increased compensation for evicted tenants, Dussault remains skeptical about its impact on reducing evictions. 

In reality, he said, “very few cases end up at the TAL because it’s difficult for the tenant to prove that the reason given by the landlord is true. Also, most of them don’t want to get involved in this procedure.”