Being a Lessee

Handicapped persons

Télécharger le PDF : Notice of termination of a lease due to a disability

Protection from discrimination

If you or a member of your household is handicapped or uses a means to manage a disability, you are protected under the Charter of human rights and freedoms, the principles of which must guide all laws in Québec. The Charter provides that every person has a right to full and equal recognition of their human rights and freedoms, without distinction based on, among others, a handicap or the use of any means to palliate a handicap. If that right is impaired, it is considered discrimination.

Lessees are protected from any form of discrimination during the course of the lease. Like any contract, a lease cannot contain clauses that are discriminatory. The Tribunal administratif du logement has jurisdiction to hear all applications relating to leases, according to the definitions and exclusions provided for by law.

A lessor cannot refuse you a lease due to your handicap by claiming, for example, that the dwelling is not adapted. For more information on this subject, contact the Commission des droits de la personne et de la jeunesse. Note that you may also file a complaint with this organization if you consider that you or a member of your household have been the subject of discrimination.

Obligation to provide peaceful enjoyment of the dwelling

You are entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of your dwelling. The Civil Code of Québec also provides that the lessor is required to guarantee the dwelling may be used for the purpose for which it was rented. Moreover, the dwelling must be maintained accordingly. For example, if you are experiencing problems in accessing the building or your dwelling because there are objects blocking the entrance or an elevator, you must first inform the lessor in order that the situation be corrected. If the problem persists, you may then contact the Tribunal administratif du logement to apply for an order requiring the lessor to fulfill their obligations by ensuring that you have unobstructed access to your dwelling.

Adapting a dwelling

If, because of your handicap or that of a member of your household, you require adaptations to your dwelling, there are different programs that offer financial assistance to help pay for such adaptations. As a lessee, the first step is to inform the lessor and obtain their authorization.

The Residential Adaptation Assistance Program, which is available through the Société d’habitation du Québec, provides financial assistance to owners in order to make adaptations to dwellings, thereby enabling handicapped persons who meet the eligibility criteria to safely enter and exit their dwelling, access the various rooms inside and go about their daily activities. Owners of dwellings located in the territory of Montréal must contact the Montréal Home Adaptation Program.

When an animal is used to palliate a handicap

The law provides that lessors have the right to refuse the presence of an animal in a dwelling. In signing a lease that indicates animals are prohibited, the lessee must comply with that clause, under penalty of resiliation. However, if you require an animal to palliate a handicap, such as, for example, a guide dog for a visual impairment, you must contact the Tribunal administratif du logement to obtain an authorization. If the authorization is granted, you must nevertheless ensure that the animal does not affect the right to peaceful enjoyment of other lessees.

Moving and resiliating a lease due to a handicap

Generally speaking, parties who are bound by a lease cannot end their contract if and when they wish. They are required to fulfill their obligations under the contract.

The entitlement to remain on the premises is a fundamental principle when leasing residential dwellings. This principle means that, every year, the lease is automatically renewed and terminates only in situations that are specifically provided for by law. The fact that you have a handicap or the lessor is unable to adapt the dwelling because of your handicap or that of another member of the household is not a reason that permits the lessor to resiliate the lease against your will. As the lessee, however, you have the right to resiliate the lease if desired, under certain conditions.

The law allows you to terminate your lease if, due to a handicap, you can no longer occupy the dwelling or must leave due to your state of health. The handicap or the worsening thereof must have occurred after the lease was signed. Should you find yourself in such a situation, you must send the lessor a notice accompanied by a certificate, such as a medical certificate, issued by the corresponding authority.

The resiliation of a fixed-term lease (from July 1 to June 30 of the following year, for example) takes effect two months after the notice is sent to the lessor, while the resiliation of a lease with an indeterminate term (no specified termination date) takes effect one month after the notice is sent. When the resiliation takes effect, both parties are released from their respective obligations. The lessor and lessee may, however, make an agreement to resiliate the lease sooner. Note that the resiliation automatically takes effect earlier if you vacate the dwelling and it is rented to someone else within the period in question.

If you were receiving certain personalized services (such as nursing services), either pursuant to the lease or under a separate contract, you are required to pay only for those received prior to moving and are released from paying for any services that were not rendered. A list of the applicable services is presented in Part 2 of Schedule 6 to the lease, in the section entitled Services of a personal nature.

Attending a hearing

In the event you are required to attend a hearing at the Tribunal administratif du logement, and you suffer from a hearing impairment, please notify us. Note that the Tribunal will reimburse you for the cost of the services of a sign language interpreter if you file a request. Contact our Service de renseignement for more information. Similarly, if you have a handicap that could prevent you from participating fully at the hearing and would like for certain measures to be taken, please notify the Tribunal administratif du logement as soon as possible.

Request for information

To obtain information on your rights and obligations under a lease as a handicapped person, you are invited to contact the Service de renseignement aux citoyens at the Tribunal administratif du logement.