The COVID-19 pandemic and its significant consequences on the lives of workers and university students weigh more and more heavily on the shoulders of rental property owners, victims in a way of a reduction in the tenant base.
“It’s much quieter than in the past,” confirms Raouf Bnh, a rental agent for Rockhill Apartments, a large real estate complex of over a thousand homes on the outskirts of Mount Royal. I don’t know the current vacancy rate, but I can still assure you that the number of apartment seekers is not what it was last year. “
Since the start of the year, the Corporation of Quebec Building Owners (CORPIQ) has seen a marked increase in the vacancy rate for rental housing throughout the province.
In the metropolis, vacancy rates have almost doubled since February to approach 2%, says its director of public affairs, Hans Brouillette. If the trend seems more stable in Quebec for the moment, the region of Sherbrooke already noted in June a tripling of its vacancy rate, to 3.4%.
This is because, like the office and housing towers in city centers that have become deserted, the rental complexes erected around universities seem to be particularly suffering from the closure of campuses and the imposition of distance education. .
Free premiums and monthly payments
This would be the case, like others, of the LaCité Apartments, a large rental complex built just a few streets from McGill University in Montreal. Distance education and the closure of borders with the United States would have had almost immediate consequences for the ownership of the Oxford Group.
The sales manager, Remi Crisci, declined our maintenance requests. But, a sign of the times, tenants of LaCité have kindly shared emails from the administration offering $ 400 in exchange for any reference to a friend wishing to settle there.
A technique that hardly surprises regulars in the market.
“The fear of not being able to find accommodation is less present today,” confirms another rental agent, on condition of anonymity. People are shopping. Freebies of one month, two months and even three months upon signature are no longer so rare, ”he says.
“Others lower their rent altogether. But in order not to drop the value of their buildings, many choose to offer freebies. This is their new reality. “