Being a Lessee


Télécharger le PDF : Signing a lease in a private seniors' residence

Télécharger le PDF : Being a lessee in a private seniors' residence

Télécharger le PDF : Notice of lessee’s death

Télécharger le PDF : Notice of termination of a lease due to admission of the lessee to a residential and long-term care centre or to a private seniors' residence

Télécharger le PDF : Notice to new lessee (Change of destination of a dwelling for seniors - Immovable remaining offered for dwelling purposes)

What is a private residence?

Private seniors’ residences are a kind of housing for self sufficient and semi self sufficient seniors. The services they offer depend on the needs of the people who live there.

These residences are privately owned and operated. There are numerous governmental standards and rules that they must comply with. When they meet these legal requirements, they receive a certificate of compliance that allows them to be a residence for seniors.

The Tribunal administratif du logement is a specialized tribunal that handles lease related matters. Seniors and owners can contact the Tribunal to learn about their rights and obligations and to settle disputes.

Joint application – Private seniors’ residences

What about the public health and social services network?

Private residences should not be confused with institutions in the public health and social services network, such as residential and long term care centres (CHSLDs). They should also not be confused with housing facilities that have contracts with those institutions, such as intermediate and family type housing facilities.

Such housing facilities must follow significantly different rules and are outside the jurisdiction of the Tribunal administratif du logement.

Ending a lease

A lease is a contract that lets one person (the lessee) rent a place to live. It might be a lease for a house, an apartment or a room. The person who rents the place to the lessee is called the lessor or owner.

Like any other contract, a lease cannot be ended without the proper procedure and justification. A senior who is a lessee must make sure to end their current lease before signing a new lease with the private residence they have chosen.

The law says that, in some situations, a lessor cannot object when a senior wants to end a lease. Those situations are:

  1. The senior has gotten a dwelling in low rental housing (LRH) or an equivalent dwelling.
  2. The senior’s safety or the safety of a child living with the senior is threatened.
  3. The senior has a disability that means they can no longer live in the dwelling.
  4. The senior must leave the dwelling for health reasons.

Moving for health reasons

A person can end a lease at any time if they’re moving to a private residence for seniors that offers them nursing care or personal assistance services that they need for health reasons. This is true whether the senior is moving into a private residence for the first time or moving from one to another. A senior can also end a lease if they are moving to any other type of housing that provides such care or services, no matter what it’s called.

The senior must send the following documents to the lessor:

  • A written notice stating that the senior is leaving and ending the lease
  • Confirmation from the appropriate authority proving that the senior has been admitted to the residence
  • A certificate from an authorized person, confirming that the senior meets the conditions for admission. The authorized person must be a health and social services professional (such as a physician, nurse or social worker) who works in a CLSC, a CHSLD, hospital or private practice.

These documents must be sent by
the applicable deadline, as follows:

Length of lease
the senior wants to end

Deadline for
sending documents

12 months or more

2 months before leaving

Less than 12 months

1 month before leaving

Indeterminate term

1 month before leaving

Signing a lease with a private residence

Once the senior has sent their former lessor all the documents to end their old lease, they must sign a new lease with the private residence. The residence must use the official lease form provided by the Tribunal administratif du logement. Seniors who are leaving a house or condo that they owned to move into a private residence must also sign a lease using this form.

Both parties have certain obligations
under the new lease, including:

Obligations of the
residence owner

Obligations of
the senior

Provide services of good quality that are in keeping with laws and regulations

Pay the rent

Provide a dwelling
in good condition

Keep the dwelling clean

Maintain and repair
the dwelling

Notify the owner of any defects or serious deterioration

Do not change the dwelling

Return the dwelling in the condition
they received it in

Ensure the lessee has peaceable enjoyment
of the dwelling

Do not disturb
the other lessees

Services offered

The services offered by a private residence must be listed in a standard form (called a mandatory schedule) attached to the lease.

In the mandatory schedule, the lessor must also specify the individual cost of each service of a personal nature that the lessee receives.

For example, the schedule might include:

  • Meals
  • Help with getting around, getting dressed, eating and bathing
  • Help with medications (delivery, taking medications, etc.)
  • Nursing care
  • Any other type of care or personal assistance service defined by the Act respecting health services and social services or regulations under that law

Regarding services of a personal nature, note that when a senior dies or sends a written notice to the owner to end a lease, only those services of a personal nature that the senior actually received must be paid.

Nursing care, services of a personal nature and personal assistance services can be used on a temporary or permanent basis depending on the lessee’s needs and whether the lessee requests them.

Changes to the lease

When the lease is about to end, the lessor can ask to modify some of its conditions when it is renewed. These changes could include the cost of services, the length of the lease or the amount of rent.

If so, the lessor must send the lessee
a written notice of modifications
within the applicable time frame, as follows:

Length of lease
that’s ending

Time frame for sending
notice of modifications

12 months or more

3 to 6 months
before end of lease

less than 12 months

1 to 2 months
before end of lease

Indeterminate term

1 to 2 months before
proposed modification

Lease for a room
(any length)

10 to 20 days before end of lease or proposed modification

Once the lessee has received this notice, they have one month to choose one of the following three options and notify the lessor of their choice. The options are:

  1. The lessee accepts the proposed modification(s) and wants to renew the lease.
  2. The lessee refuses the modification(s) but wants to renew the lease. The lessee must notify the lessor in writing.

    Once the lessee has notified the lessor of this refusal, the lessor has one month to ask the Tribunal administratif du logement to fix the rent or modify conditions of the lease. If the lessor does not do this, the lease will be renewed with no changes.

  3. The lessee plans to leave and does not want to renew the lease. The lessee must notify the lessor in writing.

In all cases, if the lessee does not respond to the notice of modifications within one month, the lease is automatically renewed with the changes the lessor requested.

The Tribunal administratif du logement cannot fix the rent or modify the conditions of a lease for a dwelling located in a building that was built within the previous five years if the lease mentions this restriction. For such a dwelling, a lessee who does not agree to the proposed modifications must leave.

Ending a lease with a private residence

A lessee who plans to leave a private residence must send a written notice of non-renewal to the lessor before the end of the lease. This notice must be sent within the same time frame that applies to a lessor’s notice of modifications (see previous table).

If the lessee received a notice of modifications from the lessor, however, they only need to notify the lessor in writing that they do not want to renew the lease (option 3 above).

Death of the lessee

The lease may be ended when the lessee dies, as follows:

  • If the lessee lived alone, the liquidator of the succession or an heir has six months after the lessee’s death to send a written notice to the lessor. The lease will end two months after this notice is sent.
  • If the lessee lived with someone else, that other person may become the new lessee and continue to live in the dwelling. To do so, they must send the lessor a written notice within two months after the original lessee’s death.

    If the person who lived with the original lessee does not notify the lessor within this two month period, the liquidator of the succession or an heir can end the lease. They must send a written notice to the lessor within one month after the end of the two month period. The person must leave the dwelling during the month after this notice is sent.

Respecting the deadline for ending a lease

If a lessee does not obey the deadlines for ending their lease, the lessor can ask the lessee to pay compensation for damages the lessor suffers.

However, if someone else rents the dwelling after the lessee leaves, the previous lessee only has to pay the rent for the time when nobody was living there.

In all cases, the lessee can try to come to an agreement with the lessor to end a lease early.

Closing of a residence and problems affecting residents’ health and safety

In the following situations, specific rules ensure that seniors can continue to receive services from the residence until it closes, and that they can get help finding a new place to live. Special rules also apply to ending their leases.

When there is danger to the health and safety of the residents:

  • The relevant health and social services agency can evacuate and relocate the residents.
  • Evacuated residents do not have to pay rent for the period they were evacuated.
  • Residents can end their leases afterward.

When a private seniors’ residence closes:

  • After its certification is revoked or refused:
    • A lessee may end their lease by giving a written notice of at least 15 days. This notice must be sent within 60 days after the residence closes.
  • Because of a decision by the operator:
    • The operator must notify the health and social services agency at least six months before closing. If the operator does not give this notice, any notices given to lessees under the Civil Code of Québec rules on leases of dwellings are invalid.

Don’t hesitate to contact the Tribunal administratif du logement or the Ministry of health and social services (ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux) to learn more about your rights in such situations.