Non-Payment of Rent and Frequent Late Payments

By Me Guy Audet

The most important obligation of a tenant is to pay the rent on the first day of each month, in accordance with article 1903 C.C.Q., unless otherwise agreed.

Article 1971 C.C.Q. states that the landlord can make a demand for the resiliation of the lease when his tenant is three weeks late on his rent or when he is frequently late in paying it and thus causing him a serious prejudice (damages). For example, the proof that the frequent late payments caused a financial lost is considered a serious prejudice.

The question recently asked during the appeal of a decision of the Régie du logement is :

“[TRANSLATION] After noting that the tenant was more than three weeks late in the payment of his rent, did the Régie du logement judge had discretion to give an additional delay to pay before ordering the resiliation of the lease?”(1)

Even though proof had been made that the tenant owed an amount of 8 821.00 $ and that he was often paying his rent late, the Régie du logement decided to order the tenant to pay on the first of each month in accordance with article 1903 C.C.Q. The Régie added that : “[TRANSLATION] in light of the specific circumstances of this case, the lease will not be resiliated if the owed rent, the interest and fees are paid before the expiration of the delay for appeal.”

In this case, the tenant did pay an amount of 3 002.00 $ at the beginning of the audition and the rest after the decision, but before the expiration of the delay for appeal as it had been authorized by the administrative judge.

Judge Michel A. Pinsonnault states in his decision that he had to answer the matter in dispute in light of the decision and the evidence given during the first instance and without taking into account subsequent facts. If the tenant did or did not pay his rent was therefore irrelevant.

The Court explains that article 1973 C.C.Q. does not give discretion to the judges of the Régie du logement when a claim is made because the tenant is more than three weeks late in the payment of his rent. The Court adds that the discretion given by article 1883 C.C.Q. only applies when a tenant paid his rent, plus the fees and interests before the decision. Also, the Court states that article 1883 C.C.Q. is one of public order as it can be inferred by article 1893 C.C.Q.

The landlord won is appeal, the lease was resiliated and the eviction of the tenant and all other occupants of the apartment ordered.

(1) Domaine de Parc Cloverdale c. Amoun Issa et Régie du logement (mise en cause), 2011 QCCQ 1468, AZ-50726400, (C.Q.)

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