Q: Is it normal that my landlord is asking for a security deposit on the apartment?
A: Landlords cannot request a deposit. However, they can require that a tenant pay first month’s rent in advance (art 1904 C.C.Q.).
If you’ve already paid a security deposit, you can send a formal notice to the landlord that requires them to pay it back. If they don’t comply, you can open a file with the Tribunal administratif du logement.
Q: I signed a lease but the landlord never gave me a copy. What should I do?
A: Landlords must give their tenant(s) a copy of the lease within 10 days of the written or verbal agreement. However, you cannot end your lease if your landlord does not fulfill this responsibility. (art 1895. C.C.Q.).
If you haven’t received a copy of the lease, you can send a formal notice to the landlord requesting a copy. If they don’t give it to you, you can open a file with the Tribunal administratif du logement.
Q: My rental unit poses risks to my health (mould, water damage, vermin) and/or safety (sagging ceiling, disaster, fire). Can I leave?
A: A dwelling is considered unfit for habitation if there is a serious risk to your health or your safety (art 1913 C.C.Q.). If you think your dwelling is unfit for habitation, call 311 to have it checked by an inspector from the City of Montréal.
If the inspector declares your dwelling unfit for habitation and you wish to leave, you must notify your landlord that you are leaving by sending a notice (see here) before leaving or within 10 days after leaving (art 1915 C.C.Q.). The lease is then suspended, and you can decide to return to your dwelling once it has been made fit for habitation (art 1916 C.C.Q.).
Q: Am I allowed to terminate my lease at any time by giving my landlord the equivalent of three (3) months’ rent?
A: No. You can’t force your landlord to accept the termination of your lease by giving them three (3) months’ rent. However, you can always speak with your landlord to reach a new agreement.
Source (in French): https://infologis.ca/saviez-vous-que/
Q: Can I choose to not renew my lease?
A: Yes. Normally, if you choose to not renew your lease, you must indicate your decision when you receive the notice of rent increase.
If you don’t receive a notice of rent increase, you have to send your landlord a notice of non-renewal of the lease (art 1946 C.C.Q.). For a 12-month lease, you have to send the notice between 3 and 6 months before the end of the lease.
Q: I don’t have a written lease and the landlord is telling me that I have to leave my home. Do I have to leave?
A: No, you don’t have to leave your home. A lease can be a verbal or written contract—both are equally valid. With a lease, you have the right to stay in your rental unit.
Assigning a Lease and Subletting
Q: Am I allowed to assign my lease or sublet my apartment?
A: Yes, lease assignment and subletting are two ways to leave a rental unit earlier by transferring it to someone else. Once you have found a potential tenant, you must send your landlord a notice of assignment or sublet. They cannot refuse the assignment or sublet without a valid reason (e.g., tenant who is insolvent, has a lot of debt or has very bad credit). The landlord must inform you of their refusal AND of the reasons behind the refusal within 15 days after receiving your notice. Otherwise, they are considered to have consented (art 1871 C.C.Q.).
Q: What’s the difference between subletting and assigning a lease?
A: Assigning a lease allows a tenant, or “lessee,” to transfer their lease to another person, the “assignee.” It’s often an effective way to leave before the end of a lease. The lease doesn’t change when it is transferred to another person (art 1873 C.C.Q.).
Subletting allows the lessee to rent their apartment to another person, the sub-tenant. Unlike with a lease transfer, the tenant is still responsible for their lease and must fulfill their obligations. It is important to note that the tenant cannot set the rent of their sublet to an amount higher than what is indicated on the lease (art 1950 C.C.Q.). It’s therefore a relationship between 3 people: the renter, the tenant and the sub-tenant.
Furthermore, the sub-tenant doesn’t have the right to stay in the dwelling. The sublet ends on the last day of the lease. A notice must be sent to the sub-tenant 10 days before the end of the lease (art 1940 C.C.Q.).
Q: My landlord is giving me the option of terminating my lease instead of transferring it. Do I have to break the lease?
A: No. The tenant can refuse to terminate the lease and pursue assigning the lease to someone new. In this context, when a landlord suggests terminating the lease, it’s often to deter tenants from exercising their right to transfer the lease. Furthermore, the landlord can’t consent to a lease termination instead of a lease assignment—their lack of consent isn’t a valid reason to refuse a tenant’s proposed lease transfer.
It’s always possible to refuse the landlord’s offer of lease termination and to transfer a lease.
Q: What happens if I don’t pay my rent on time?
A: If your rent payment is late by more than 21 days, your landlord can take measures to evict you and terminate your lease by bringing your case to the Tribunal administratif du logement.
The Tribunal du logement can approve your landlord’s request for lease termination if your rent payments are often late.
Source (in French): https://infologis.ca/saviez-vous-que/
Q: I can’t afford my rent anymore. Can I break my lease?
A: It’s important to be careful, because leaving without notifying the landlord can be considered abandoning the dwelling (art 1975 C.C.Q.). In this case, the Tribunal would hold you responsible for paying indemnities to your landlord.
You can always opt for a lease assignment. Assigning a lease allows a tenant, the lessee, to transfer their lease to another person, the assignee. It’s often an effective way to leave before the end of a lease. The lease doesn’t change when it is transferred to another person.
Rent Increase and Changes to the Lease
Q: My landlord is proposing a rent increase that I think is excessive. What recourse do I have?
- Accept the increase and renew the lease;
- Refuse the increase and renew the lease;
- Refuse the increase and not renew the lease.
The tenant must answer within a month of receiving the notice. For a 12-month lease, the notice must be sent between 3 and 6 months before the end of the lease.
If the tenant disagrees with the increase and wants to remain in the dwelling, they can choose the second option. If the landlord is firm on the increase, they can apply to the Tribunal administrative du logement to have the rent fixed within a month of receiving the tenant’s notice of refusal (art 1947 C.C.Q.).
Q: My landlord is proposing a rent increase that I am willing to accept, but they now want to remove pets from the lease, and I have one. Can I refuse?
A: A rent increase and the clause stating that pets aren’t allowed are two separate things. It’s possible to accept a rent increase and to refuse a change to the conditions of the lease. In this case, the landlord may file an application with the Tribunal administratif du logement and will have the burden of proving that the change is appropriate.
Q: My landlord is proposing a rent increase that I am willing to accept, but they now want to ban the consumption of cannabis inside the dwelling. Can I refuse?
A: A rent increase and the clause banning cannabis consumption are two separate things. It’s possible to accept a rent increase and to refuse a change to the conditions of the lease. In this case, the landlord may file an application with the Tribunal administratif du logement and will have the burden of proving that the change is appropriate.
Q: The building I live in has been sold. Is it legal for my new landlord to ask me to move out?
A: No, a change in ownership doesn’t break the lease, neither does it give the new landlord the right to terminate the lease. The new lessor has the same rights and obligations as the previous lessor (art 1886 C.C.Q. and art 1937 C.C.Q.).
Q: Is it legal for my landlord to send me a notice of non-renewal of the lease?
A: No, you have the right to stay in your dwelling. You can’t be forced to leave your rental unit (art 1936 C.C.Q.), except in cases excluded by the law (including repossession of a rental unit). The landlord can’t unilaterally terminate your lease by sending you a notice.
Q: My landlord sent me a notice of repossession of my rental unit. What are my rights?
- Their ascendants in the first degree (parents)
- Their descendants in the first degree (children)
- Their partner, whether or not they’re married
- An ex-spouse whose primary support after the separation remains the landlord
Remember that not all landlords can repossess a dwelling: legal persons can’t proceed with a repossession for the obvious reason that they don’t have family. The same applies in the case of a building that has multiple co-owners that aren’t a couple.
To be able to repossess a dwelling, a notice must be sent at least six months before the end of the lease. For the notice to be valid, it must include the expected date of the repossession, the name of the person who will be living in the dwelling as well as their relationship with the landlord. Once the tenant has received the notice, they have one month to decide what they want to do. If the tenant doesn’t provide an answer, they are deemed to have refused the repossession. It will then be the landlord’s job to bring the case to the Tribunal administratif du logement to prove that the repossession is valid.
For more information, you can visit the “Droits des locataires” section of our website to read our pamphlets on repossession: https://clpmr.com/documentations-publications/droits-des-locataires/. You can also sign up for our next workshop on the subject to learn more!
Q: My landlord sent me an eviction notice to enlarge the dwelling, divide it or change its destination. What are my rights?
To proceed with the eviction, the lessor must send a notice at least six months before the end of the lease. The notice must include the reason for the eviction and the date at which the tenant must leave, that is, the last day of their lease.
Contrary to a repossession, if the tenant doesn’t respond, they are deemed to have consented to the eviction (art 1966 C.C.Q.). If the tenant wishes to contest the eviction, they must open a file with the Tribunal administratif du logement within one month of receiving the notice. Before the court, the landlord will have the burden of proving the viability of his project.
Contrary to a repossession, if the eviction is granted by the Tribunal, the tenant has the right to an indemnity equivalent to three months’ rent plus moving costs. The tenant can also claim amounts for damages or interest if they’re able to show that they’re owed more than three months’ rent.
For more information, you can visit the documentation section of our website to read our pamphlets on eviction: http://clpmr.com/documentations-publications/. You can also sign up for our next workshops on the subject to learn more!
Q: My landlord is offering me money to leave my apartment. Do I have to accept it?
A: No, you have a right to maintain occupancy (art 1936 C.C.Q.). The landlord can’t force you to leave your apartment for any reason and can’t force you to accept money. However, if you wish to do so, you can come to an agreement with your landlord.
Q: My landlord wants to do major repairs and is asking me to leave. Do I have to leave?
A: No, to do major repairs, your landlord has to follow procedure. If the repairs require you to leave, this must be planned in advance and you must be compensated to ensure that you do not have to pay for additional expenses out of pocket.
Contact us for more information!
Dwelling Repairs and Maintenance
Q: If my landlord has to do repairs in my dwelling but isn’t getting around to them quick enough, can I withhold rent until the repairs are completed?
A: No. Paying rent late can lead to serious consequences for the tenant. After 21 days, the landlord can open a file with the Tribunal administratif du logement for non-payment of rent, and that can lead to lease termination.
Q: If my landlord has to do repairs in my dwelling but isn’t getting around to them quick enough, can I do the repairs myself and subtract the cost from next month’s rent?
However, it is possible to do repairs instead of the landlord without the authorization of the Tribunal if the repairs are urgent and necessary, and only if the landlord has already been notified and hasn’t acted in due time (art 1868 C.C.Q.). The tenant is then entitled to withhold the expenses from their rent. They must provide the landlord with all supporting documentation for the expenses.