Rental law

Owner-tenant relationships

By browsing our website, you will see that we have extensive experience in rental law.

With more than 25 years of experience in rental law and in landlord–tenant relations, we successfully represent building managers and landlords at the Régie du logement and at the Court of Quebec for all lawsuits. We also offer the following services:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Fixation of rent
  • Lease modifications
  • Building rules modification
  • Noise complaints
  • Bed bugs and infestations
  • Conciliation
  • Injonctions
  • Evictions

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Latest chronicles in rental law

Consult our chronicles to stay up to date with the latest news on rental and real estate law.

Rental law
Dividing, enlarging or changing the destination of a dwelling

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…

Rental law
Resiliation of the lease and drug trafficking

In the course of their daily management, landlords can receive complains about a tenant doing drug trafficking or using drugs himself. Can the landlord obtain the resiliation of the lease by proving that the tenant is doing drug trafficking? Can he obtain it by proving only a use of drugs? In a 2003 decision, Corporation…

Rental law
Lease Assignment and the Grounds for Refusal

You are receiving more and more notices of assingment of lease in the course of your daily managment. The question at hand is to know the legal grounds on which they can be refused. In a case, Desrochers v. Courville(1), an interesting decision was rendered by the Régie du logement in favor of landlords. This…

Rental law FAQs

  • Credit check;
  • Face-to-face meeting with the candidate;
  • Verification of the candidate’s identity;
  • Ask for recommendations and verification of those;
  • Background check at the Régie du logement;
  • A cooperative acts under two main regulations : the Cooperatives Act and its rules of internal management.
  • Of course, the Civil Code of Quebec also finds application.
  • The cooperative might also be subject to its operating agreements and to various governmental programs.

Is drug traffiking enough to resiliate a lease?

Drug traffiking is enough to ask for the resiliation of the lease if the landlord can prove the serious prejudice caused by this illegal activity.

If a tenant engages in an illegal activity inside the apartment, is it sufficient to obtain the resiliation of his lease?

No, in all cases, the landlord must prove un serious prejudice (noise, strangers in the building, danger for the security of the other tenants, of the landlord or of his employees…)

SEE ARTICLE “RESILIATION OF THE LEASE AND DRUG TRAFFIKING

How to increase the rent of my tenant?

By giving a notice of the modification to the tenant. For leases of 12 months or more, article 1942 C.c.Q. states that the notice must be given not less than three months nor more than six months before the term of the lease. For example, when a lease term is on June 30th, the notice must be given between January 1st and March 30th.

For leases of less than 12 months, article 1942 C.c.Q. states that the notice must be given not less than one month nor more than two months before the term.

How must a notice of the modification of the lease or of the increase of rent be given?

By registered mail, by bailiff or person to person with a confirmation of receipt or by any other means allowing to obtain a valid proof of receipt.

Which criteria must be taken into account when calculating an agmentation of rent?

The tax, insurance, maintenance and electricity fees augmentation must be taken into consideration. Also, major repairs done during the year are important for next year augmentation.

When must the cost for major work be taken into consideration?

It can be either when you pay for it or when it is billed. It is the landlord who must choose which. However, the cost must be calculated only once.

SEE ARTICLE “INCREASE OF RENT AND MAJOR REPAIRS

What should I do when my tenant abandons the dwelling during the lease?

Article 1975 of the Civil Code of Quebec states that the lease is resiliated of right where a lessee abandons the dwelling and takes his movable effects with him.

It is then up to you to take the necessary steps to limit your damages and rent out again as soon as possible.

SEE ARTICLE ABOUT WHEN A TENANT LEAVES DURING THE LEASE

What are my obligations when I deliver the apartment to the tenant after the signing of the lease?

You must deliver the apartment in a good habitable and clean condition.

What can I do if my tenant do not pay his rent on the first day of the month?

From the second day of the month onwards, you can legally file an application at the Régie du logement to recover the rent. On the 23rd, if the rent is still unpaid, you will then be able to make a modification of your demand to add the resiliation of the lease.

Starting from the 23rd of the month, you can also file an application to resiliate the lease.

Can my tenant avoid resiliation of the lease for non-payment?

Yes, by paying the due rent plus interest and fees before the decision.

SEE ARTICLE ABOUT THE NON-PAYMENT

What can I do if my tenant is frequently late with is rent?

It is possible to apply for resiliation of the lease by proving that the lateness is causing you serious prejudice to your obligations.

In practice, the Régie du logement often orders the tenant to pay on the first day of each month.

SEE ARTICLE ABOUT THE DURATION OF AN ORDER TO PAY

Where is the rent payable?

At the tenant’s home, unless otherwise specified in a clause of the lease.

Can the landlord have access to a rented apartment?

In accordance with article 1931 C.c.Q., the landlord is bound, except in case of emergency, to give the tenant a prior notice of 24 hours of his intention to ascertain the condition of the apartment. This right must be use in a reasonable way.

If there is an emergency, for example, if there is a major water infiltration, the 24 hours notice is not necessary.

Is refusal by the tenant to permit access to the apartment a ground to obtain the resiliation of the lease?

Yes, if the tenant is acting in bad faith and it causes a serious prejudice to the landlord.

SEE ARTICLE “ACCESS TO THE APARTMENT

Can a landlord forbid pets in an apartment?

Yes, the clause forbidding animals in a lease is legal as long as it is signed at the conclusion of the lease or agreed upon at the renewal of the lease. There may be exceptions if the tenant proves the medical necessity of the pet.

Can a landlord obtain an order to enforce the clause forbidding pets?

Yes, unless if the pet has been in the apartment for a long period of time and the landlord knew about it. Indeed, this could be considered an implicit renunciation of the clause.

What are the landlord’s recourses if a tenant’s pet is causing damages and there is no clause forbidding the pet?

If a serious prejudice can be proven, for example, if the animal causes noise or damages to the property, the landlord will have the right to ask the tenant to get rid of his pet. If the tenant refuses, the landlord will have the right to ask for the resiliation of the lease. The administrative judge will have to decide between giving an order or resiliate the lease. If he gives an order, though, and the tenant does not respect it, the Rental board will have to resiliate the lease if asked by the landlord.

SEE ARTICLE “FORBIDDING PETS IN LEASE

What should I do when I receive a notice to assign a lease?

You have 15 days to give notice to your tenant of your acceptance or refusal of the new tenant as a transferee.

If you refuse, you will have to give a serious reason to your tenant to support your decision.

The insolvency of the proposed tenant is usually the main reason stated.

SEE ARTICLE ABOUT THE ASSIGNMENT OF A LEASE

How can I execute a decision of the Régie du logement?

By going to the office of the Court of Quebec yourself and have the court clerk issue the different writs or by contacting a lawyer or a bailiff.

A decision ordering the other party to pay you money will be executory for 10 years.

How to modify the condition of the lease or to augment the rent of my tenant?

By giving a notice of the modification to the tenant. For leases of 12 months or more, article 1942 C.c.Q. states that the notice must be given not less than three months nor more than six months before the term of the lease. For example, when a lease term is on June 30th, the notice must be given between January 1st and March 30th.

For the leases of less than 12 months, article 1942 C.c.Q. states that the notice must be given not less than one month nor more than two months before the term.

How must a notice of the modification of the lease or of the augmentation of the rent be given?

By registered mail, by bailiff or person to person with a confirmation of receipt or by any other means allowing to obtain a valid proof of receipt.

SEE ARTICLE ABOUT THE MODIFICATION OF A LEASE

Can a landlord repossess a dwelling and for what reasons?

If the owner is a natural person, he can repossess one of his dwellings to live there himself, to have his ascendants and descendents in the first degree or any other relative or person connected by marriage or civil union who is supported mainly by him live there or to have a former spouse who is still mainly supported by the him live there.

However, article 1959.1 of the Civil Code of Quebec states that the landlord will not be able to reposses the apartment if the tenant or their spouse, at the time of the repossession, 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.

Notwithstanding the preceding, the landlord may repossess if :

(1 the landlord is 70 years of age or over and wishes to repossess the dwelling as a residence for himself;
(2 the beneficiary of the repossession is 70 years of age or over;
(3 the landlord is an owner-occupant 70 years of age or over and wishes to have a beneficiary less than 70 years of age reside in the same immovable as himself.
Can a landlord repossess a dwelling if he is a co-owner?

Unless he is a co-owner with his spouse, he cannot repossess any dwelling of his building. Therefore, if he is a co-owner with his brother or sister, he cannot repossess a dwelling because he or the co-owner want to live there.

How must a landlord proceed to repossess a dwelling?

He must send his tenant a notice informing him of my intention to retake possession of the dwelling. The notice must be given at least six months before the end of the lease if the term of the lease is fixed and for a lease of more than six months. For example, it must be given before December 31st for a lease terminating on June 30th. The same applies for a lease with an indeterminate term. If the duration of the lease is of less than six months, the notice must be given within one month of the end of the term.

What information must be included in the notice for it to be legitimate?

The notice must include the date fixed for repossession, for example, “at the term of your lease on June 30th 2011”, the name of the beneficiary and the degree of relationship or the bond between him and the owner. The restrictions stated in article 1959.1 C.C.Q. must also appear.

How much time does the tenant have to answer the notice?

After its reception, the tenant has one month to answer the notice. If he does not reply, he will be deemed to have refused to vacate the dwelling.

What must a landlord do if his tenant refuse or is deemed to have refused to vacate?

Fill an application for repossession with the Régie du logement within one month of the tenant’s refusal and it must be served to his tenant within a reasonable time.

Under which conditions can a landlord repossess a dwelling?

He must prove that he really means to repossess the dwelling for the reasons mentioned in the notice and that it is not only a way to evict the tenant. He will have to convince the administrative judge that he is of good faith and that the beneficiary of the repossession will really live in the apartment.

What happens if another dwelling becomes available?

If another apartment becomes vacant and is of the same type and equivalent rent as the one the landlord wanted to repossess, he will not be allowed reposses the apartment. If the dwelling becoming available is different than the other one by its rent or its characteristics, the repossession will be allowed.

Can the tenant ask for damages?

When the Court authorizes the repossession, it may impose conditions it considers “just and reasonable”. The Court generally grants damages equivalents to two or three months of rent.