By Me Guy Audet
It frequently happens that urgent repairs must be made at once inside an apartment.
Article 1865 of the Civil Code of Quebec states as follows :
“The lessee shall allow urgent and necessary repairs to be made to ensure the preservation or enjoyment of the leased property.
A lessor who makes such repairs may require the lessee to vacate or be dispossessed of the property temporarily but, if the repairs are not urgent, he shall first obtain the authorization of the court, which also fixes the conditions required to protect the rights of the lessee.
The lessee retains, according to the circumstances, the right to obtain a reduction of rent, to apply for the resiliation of the lease or, if he vacates or is dispossessed of the property temporarily, to demand compensation.”
Urgent repairs are those which must be made immediately. The tenant has the obligation to allow access to his apartment and to allow the work to be made. If he refuses, the landlord may make a demand at the Régie du logement to obtain from the Court an order to access or to vacate the dwelling for the duration of the work.
For example, in the decision Botelho c. Beaulac(1), it had been proved that an infiltration of water from the third floor apartment in a six apartments building, was leaking towards the floors below. The landlord wanted access to the apartment to make the necessary repairs but could not because of the tenant’s dogs. In light of the urgency, the Régie ordered the tenant to allow access to the landlord in her apartment upon a 24 hours notice. If the tenant still did not allowed access, the Regie permitted the landlord to enter the apartment.
When the landlord wants to make urgent repairs requiring the tenant to vacate the apartment, the latest has also the obligation to allow access to his apartment. If no agreement between the landlord and the tenant can be made, the landlord may make a demand at the Régie du logement requiring an order to vacate the premises for the duration of the repairs and for the fixation of a reasonable indemnity.
For example, in the case Remiy c. Oulaidi(2), the landlord was asking for a two months eviction of the tenant because of a mildew problem. The tenant was paying a 630.00 $ rent and refusing the 1 260.00 $ indemnity offered by the landlord. The Régie ordered the two months eviction, freed the tenant from his obligation to pay the rent, and deemed reasonable the offered indemnity reserving the tenant’s right to make a demand to the Régie if, in light of new developments, it was insufficient.
If a tenant does not follow the Régie du logement order, it could lead, upon proof of the landlord’s serious prejudice, to the resiliation of the lease(3).
(1) R.L. 36 110829 003 G, 2011 QCRDL 36312
(2) R.L. 31 100202 027 G, 2010 QCRDL 10584
(3) See article about “The access to the apartment”