The end of duplex-to-home conversions

Since mid-March, six Montreal boroughs have adopted new rules to restrict the division and subdivision of dwellings.

Vacancy rate at an all-time low

In fact, the vacancy rate in Montreal reached its lowest level in 15 years in 2019. Only 1.5% of homes are currently vacant. Rental prices have also risen sharply. All these factors mean that the Montreal rental market is saturated. This can make it very difficult for low-income households to find housing.

Changes to division and subdivision rules

The boroughs of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Rosemont-La Petite Patrie, Plateau-Mont Royal, Sud Ouest, Ville Marie and Villeray-Saint Michel-Parc extension are the areas affected by these new measures. Indeed, all Projet Montréal-led, they have decided to take action to limit the reduction in the number of housing units.

What are the prohibitions?

For the borough of Villeray-Saint Michel-Parc Extension :

  • Existing buildings with 2 or more dwellings may not be reduced in size.
  • Subdividing dwellings is prohibited for buildings with 3 or more dwellings.
  • Conversion of rooming houses to other than residential use is prohibited.

For other districts

These new rules vary somewhat for the other boroughs. In Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Ville-Marie, for example, duplexes and triplexes can still be converted into single-family homes. However, they are still authorized in only a few areas in the south-west. Rosemont-La Petite patrie only prohibits triplex conversions. And finally, on the Plateau-Mont Royal, it will still be possible to convert a duplex into a cottage if the surface area does not exceed 200m2.

A divisive decision

This decision divides the population in two.

Delighted tenants

On the one hand, it is approved and appreciated by various tenants’ rights organizations such as FRAPRU, and on the other, it is rejected by the Corporation des propriétaires immobiliers du Québec. Indeed, these new rules protect housing tenants by ensuring that Montreal’s rental stock does not continue to shrink.

Unhappy owners

However, owner-occupiers feel let down by this decision. Many consider that they have made an investment by buying a plex with a view to converting it into a single-family home. They are now blocked in their approach.

Although the adoption of this project is not final, a freeze on the issue of permits for this type of project has been announced.

Picture of Alexandre Feydri

Alexandre Feydri

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