Dividing, enlarging or changing the destination of a dwelling

By Me Guy Audet

Article 1959 of the Civil Code of Quebec gives landlords the right to evict their tenants to “divide the dwelling, enlarge it substantially or change its destination.”

In accordance with article 1960 C.C.Q., the landlord will have to notify his tenant at least six months before the expiry of the lease in the case of a lease with a fixed term, that is, before December 31st for leases terminating on June 30th. If the duration of the lease is of six months or less, the notice will have to be received at least one month before its end. For a lease without a fixed term, the notification will have to be done six months before the date of eviction.

Article 1959.1 of the Civil Code of Quebec states that the landlord will not be able to evict a tenant if the tenant or their spouse, at the time of the eviction, is 70 years of age or over, has occupied the apartment for at least 10 years and has income equal to or less than the maximum threshold qualifying the tenant or spouse for a dwelling in low-rental housing according to the By-law respecting the allocation of dwellings in low rental housing.

Article 1966 C.C.Q. states that the tenant who wants to contest the notice of eviction must fill a demand at the Régie du logement within the month following the reception of the notice. Therefore, the procedure in case of a division, enlargement or change of destination is different from the procedure in case of repossession as, for repossession, it is the landlord who must fill a demand at the Régie du logment when confronted with a contestation.

In accordance with article 1966 C.C.Q. it is the landlord who will have to prove that he truly intends to divide, enlarge or change the destination of the apartment.

In order to convince the administrative judge of that, the landlord will normally produce in proof the architect plans and the permit he will have demanded and obtained from the city in order to do his project.

As for the division of an apartment, it is not enough, for a landlord, to diminish the area of the already existing apartments. Indeed, the majority of the decisions(1) state that a multiplication of apartments must result from this division.

When a tenant is evicted, in accordance with article 1965 C.C.Q., the landlord must pay the equivalent of three months of rent plus a reasonable sum for the moving as an indemnity. If the tenant thinks that this is not enough considering his prejudice, he can fill a demand at the Régie du logement for the fixation of another amount.

(1) Sylvie Cyr c. Les immeubles Garon société en nom collectif, 18-071221-011 G, 28 février 2008, r. Micheline Leclerc, (R.L.); Lindel White et Sandra Clayton c. 9175-1503 Québec Inc., 31-080104-108 G, 22 février 2008, r. Chantale Bouchard, (R.L.)

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