Tribunal administratif du logement
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If your lessee or a member of their household is handicapped or uses a means to manage their disability, you are required to respect their rights in accordance with 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.
As the lessor of a dwelling, you cannot refuse someone a lease due to a 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.
As a lessor, you have an obligation to ensure that the lessee benefits from the peaceful enjoyment of their dwelling. The Civil Code of Québec also provides that you are required to guarantee the dwelling may be used for the purpose for which it was rented. Moreover, the dwelling must be maintained accordingly. To do so, you must ensure, among other things, that a handicapped person can access the building and dwelling, as well as make sure, for example, that there are no objects blocking that access.
If you are a building owner who leases a dwelling to a handicapped person, you have access to different programs that offer financial assistance in order to make adaptations.
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.
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, the Tribunal administratif du logement could authorize the presence of an animal in cases where it is used to palliate a handicap, such as, for example, a guide dog for someone who is visually impaired. It is incumbent on the lessee to demonstrate that the animal is necessary to manage their handicap. If the authorization is granted, the lessee must nevertheless ensure that the animal does not affect the right to peaceful enjoyment of other lessees.
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 a lessee has a handicap or you are unable to adapt the dwelling because of that handicap or that of another member of the household is not a reason that permits you to resiliate the lease. The lessee, however, has the right to resiliate the lease if desired, under certain conditions.
The law allows a lessee to terminate their lease if, due to a handicap, they can no longer occupy the dwelling or must leave due to their state of health. The handicap or the worsening thereof must have occurred after the lease was signed. To exercise this right, the lessee must send you 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, 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 the lessee vacates the dwelling and it is rented to someone else within the period in question.
If the lessee was receiving certain personalized services (such as nursing services), either pursuant to the lease or under a separate contract, he or she is required to pay only for those received prior to moving and is 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.
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.
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.