Slight rent increase for social housing tenants

Increase of 3.4 per cent not part of anticipated rent scale change



Social housing rents in Nunavik are growing by 3.4 per cent.

The Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau sent out a notice late last month informing social housing renters of the increase. The rise is part of the Société d’habitation du Québec’s annual rent increase for all social housing units in the province of Quebec.

The increase was the subject of some concern at the Kativik Regional Government’s regional council meeting held this month in Kuujjuaq. Some KRG representatives worried that elders would not be able to afford the increase.

But Watson Fournier, general director of the KMHB, said tenants who think they cannot afford the increase may fight it within a month of receiving their notice.

“As any tenant renting a residence in Quebec, they can contest the rent increase by applying to the Régie du logement du Québec (Quebec Rental Board). The tenant can contact their local housing office or client services at the KMHB to get the form and co-ordinates in order to contest the increase,” he said.

The increase, at most, adds up to $13 a month.

In Nunavik, social housing rates are determined according to the age and size of a housing unit, and whether the occupant receives social assistance.

Before the notice, social housing tenants, depending on whether they received social assistance and the size of their residence, paid between $116 and $396 a month in rent.

This range will now rise to $120 for a single-bedroom dwelling rented by someone on social assistance to $409 a month for a six-bedroom building rented by an employed tenant.

Fournier made it clear the 3.4 per cent is not part of the rent scale revision that the SHQ has been pressing for since 2000.

The SHQ wants Nunavik to adopt a rent scale that mirrors the one used in the rest of province. Social housing tenants throughout Quebec base their rent on their individual incomes. They pay 25 per cent of their net earnings.

But even as some social housing tenants begin paying the increase, others came a step closer last week to realizing their dreams of owning their own home.

According to Fournier, the KRG and the SHQ signed the affordable housing agreement two weeks ago, and the KMHB was scheduled to sign its complimentary agreement with the KRG sometime at the end of June.

The housing program will subsidize 76.5 per cent, up to a fixed maximum amount, of the construction or purchase and renovation costs of a residence.

Watson said there are approximately 70 families interested in the program and that some of these may begin construction this summer.

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