Tribunal administratif du logement
I received a decision ordering the expulsion of lessees and/or occupants of a dwelling and due to one of the exceptions stipulated in ministerial order 2020-005 dated March 17, 2020, the effects of the decision are not suspended. I am therefore permitted to have the decision executed, but how should I do it?
The decision should be executed by following the regular procedure.
Essentially, to enforce the execution of a decision, the litigant gives the execution instructions and the decision to a bailiff and pays the bailiff the required fee. The bailiff completes a notice of execution, files it with the Clerk of the Court of Québec with a copy of the decision and serves it on the party who is subject to the expulsion order. A notice of execution for the expulsion of a lessee and other occupants must be served by the bailiff at least 5 days before the forced expulsion.
I received a decision ordering the expulsion of lessees and/or occupants from a dwelling. How can I enforce the execution of this decision?
In keeping with ministerial order 2020-005 dated March 17, 2020, the effects of any Tribunal administratif du logement decision authorizing the expulsion of a lessee or occupant from a dwelling are currently suspended, until July 6, 2020, for decisions rendered before March 1, 2020, and until July 20, 2020, for decisions rendered since March 1, 2020.
If, however, the dwelling was re-leased by the lessor before March 17, 2020, and this suspension prevents the new lessee from taking possession of the premises, the lessor can enforce the execution of the decision in the regular way.
A lessor can also force the execution of a decision if, despite the suspension established by the order, the Tribunal ordered the execution of its decision due to exceptional circumstances.
The Tribunal rendered a decision authorizing the repossession of the dwelling or the eviction of the lessee for a change of use, subdivision or substantial expansion of the dwelling. Can the lessee be forced to leave at the end of their lease because of this decision?
In keeping with ministerial order 2020-005 dated March 17, 2020, the effects of any Tribunal administratif du logement decision authorizing the repossession of a dwelling or the eviction of a lessee are currently suspended, until July 6, 2020, for decisions rendered before March 1, 2020, and until July 20, 2020, for decisions rendered since March 1, 2020.
When will the Tribunal administratif du logement start holding hearings again?
On June 1, 2020, the Tribunal administratif du logement started hearing all types of applications. All cases that require immediate attention are given priority for case scheduling.
Can I have a lessee expelled if they refuse to leave at the end of their lease?
If the lease has ended and the lessee notified you, in keeping with the law, that they were not renewing it, the lessee loses their right to remain in the premises and becomes an occupant without right when the lease ends. If it is a periodic lease of unspecified duration and the lessee informed you in the time and manner set out in the law that they did not intend to renew it as of a certain date, the lessee does not have the right to remain in the dwelling after that date. The same is true for a lessee with whom you concluded an agreement with a defined departure date, if that agreement is not upheld. You must, however, be able to prove the existence of such an agreement and ensure that it was concluded in keeping with the law.
If the person refuses to leave the dwelling on the date agreed, you can file an application with the Tribunal administratif du logement to request their expulsion. You will be quickly summoned by the Tribunal to have your application heard. These applications are considered to be urgent.
I am 70 and I have to be isolated, but my lease is ending soon. Can I stay in this dwelling? Can the lessor take recourse against me?
If you have a fixed-term lease that is ending soon and you have not informed the lessor that you are leaving the dwelling in the time and manner stipulated by the law, you have the right to stay in the premises and your lease is automatically renewed. You can stay in the dwelling and the lessor has no recourse to force you to leave, as long as you are fulfilling your obligations under the lease.
If, however, you have sent notice to your lessor that you are not renewing your fixed-term lease that is about to expire or that you intend to terminate your periodic lease, that notice is still valid and you must comply with it, unless you are personally subject to a confinement order issued by the Direction de la santé publique. Likewise, if you have made an agreement with the lessor to leave on a particular date, that agreement still holds and you must leave the dwelling on the date agreed, unless you have a confinement order. You can try to arrange with the lessor to remain in the dwelling for longer because of the pandemic, but if this is impossible, you will have to comply with your agreement to vacate on the date agreed. It is possible that, based on your agreement to move out, your lessor has already rented it to another person who would otherwise find themselves homeless. To protect yourself from the risks associated with COVID-19, you can work with professional movers, inform them of your vulnerability and check with them in advance that pandemic health measures will be followed and that your health protection will be a priority during the move.
The dwelling was just vacated by a person with COVID-19. I do not want to take possession of it because I am 70 years old and immune-compromised. Can I refuse?
Notwithstanding the applicable law, we urge the parties to try to come to an agreement.
It is important to bear in mind, however, that under article 1913, C.C.Q., the lessor cannot deliver a dwelling that is unfit for habitation. A dwelling is unfit for habitation if it is in such a condition as to be a serious danger to the health or safety of its occupants or the public, or if it has been declared so by the court or by a competent authority.
Under article 1914, C.C.Q., a lessee can refuse to take possession of a dwelling delivered in a state that is unfit for habitation. The lease is automatically cancelled.
In the event of a dispute in such a case, it will be up to the Tribunal administratif du logement to determine whether the state of the dwelling constitutes a threat for the health of the new lessee, given their age and their immune-compromised state of health. For information purposes only, if the dwelling is well cleaned and enough time has passed between the departure of the former lessee and the arrival of the new lessee that the premises no longer present a risk of contagion, the dwelling may be deemed fit for habitation by the court.
If the dwelling is deemed fit for habitation and the new lessee refuses to take possession, the lessor could file a claim for damages and interest against the lessee who refuses to take possession of the dwelling without the right to do so.
Because of the pandemic, my dwelling is not ready. I have been refused access to my dwelling. What can I do?
Notwithstanding the applicable law, in these circumstances, we urge the parties to try to come to an agreement on the delivery date of the dwelling.
A lessee who cannot take possession of their dwelling on the agreed date may be able to claim damages and material and moral interests from the lessor (e.g., storage of belongings, additional moving costs, lodging, trouble and inconvenience, repayment of rent paid, etc.). The lessee will also be eligible for a refund of rent paid, under article 1699, C.C.Q. The lease may also be broken if a lessee who cannot access their dwelling in order to occupy it suffers serious harm, under article 1863, C.C.Q.
According to article 1854, C.C.Q., the lessor is obliged to deliver the dwelling to the lessee in good condition on the agreed date. This is an obligation of result, and the lessor can only be released from it in the event of force majeure. For example, the ice storm in 1998 was deemed to be force majeure. If the pandemic caused by COVID-19 is deemed to be force majeure by the court and depending on the evidence it examines, the lessor may be released from the obligation to deliver the dwelling on the agreed date.
What about the new lessee, who will not be able to take possession of the dwelling?
In these circumstances, the lessee can probably ask to break the lease or claim damages (e.g., storage of belongings, additional moving costs, lodging, trouble and inconvenience, etc.) from the lessor who was unable to deliver the dwelling on the expected date*.
* Art. 1854, C.C.Q.
Do I have to move if I have a confinement order?
No. If a confinement order has been issued for a lessee by the National Public Health Director, the lessee must not leave their home until the isolation period is over, subject to a fine of $1,000 plus fees of $546.
The isolation period is 14 days at most. The isolation period ends when the person tests negative for COVID-19 or when the National Public Health Director or the attending physician deems that there is no more risk of contagion. A judge from the Court of Québec or the municipal courts of Montréal, Laval or Québec City with jurisdiction in the location can end an isolation order or reduce its term if they are of the opinion that there is no more risk of contagion or make any changes to the isolation order that seem to them to be reasonable under the circumstances. Likewise, the Public Health Director of the Laurentian health region or a person authorized to act on their behalf can authorize a person to enter or leave that sector, on conditions they determine. (Order number 2020-015 of the Minister of Health and Social Services, dated April 4, 2020, Order number 2020-016 of the Minister of Health and Social Services, dated April 7, 2020, and Order number 2020-018 of the Minister of Health and Social Services, dated April 9, 2020)
In these circumstances, the lessee must inform the lessor that they are subject to a confinement order. Note that the lease is not renewed but extended for the isolation period. The lessee must therefore pay the rent (including services) until they vacate the dwelling. They must also pay rent to their new lessor for the dwelling they have undertaken to rent. If the lessee feels they should not have to pay this rent in light of the circumstances (the confinement order), they can submit an application to recover it to the Tribunal, which will determine the merit of the application.
What if the dwelling I am moving to is in a different region from where I live now?
Right now, the government has not prohibited moving. On the contrary, movers are included in the list of essential businesses*. Although most regions have reopened, everyone is asked as much as possible to avoid going from one region or city to another.
Do I have to move out at the end of my lease if I have not found a new place to live because I could not visit any apartments because of the pandemic?
Yes. If the lease is terminated by a notice of non-renewal sent to the lessor, the lessee must leave the premises*.
It is important to point out that the government did not formally prohibit visits to rental properties. It did, however, recommend limiting visits as much as possible. When circumstances allow, photographs or virtual tours of the dwelling using technological means are recommended.
If an in-person visit is necessary, the lessor and the potential lessee must follow the health guidelines set in place by the government. For example, they must stay at least two metres apart and wash their hands before entering the premises and after leaving it. Everyone must avoid touching the objects or furnishings in the dwelling. Only one potential lessee may be present at the visit, and they must not have any symptoms related to COVID-19. The lessor must clean all doorknobs that may be touched during the visit.
* Art. 1978, C.C.Q.
I cannot be present at the hearing so what must I do?
I must obtain a postponement of the hearing to a later date and for that I must obtain the written consent of the other party and file it at the Tribunal.
If I cannot obtain that consent, I can send a mandatary who will ask for the postponement or I can write to the Tribunal administratif du logement and ask for the postponement of the case. The reasons for the asked postponement must be indicated. It would be well advised to remit a copy of that letter to the other party.
Except in the case where I have the consent of the other party, the administrative judge must decide if he accepts or rejects the asked postponement.
For more information, see the section:
Preparing for a hearing
What is the rate increase determined by the Tribunal administratif du logement this year?
There is no fixed rate increase applied by the Tribunal administratif du logement. Each case is treated specifically. The Tribunal takes into account, in calculating the rent variation, the income of the building and the municipal and school taxes, the insurance bills, the energy costs, maintenance and service costs. Also, it sees to apply a return on capital expenditures, if there were such expenditures, and indexes the net income of the building.
In order to calculate precisely the rent variation for a dwelling, see the section:
Calculation for the fixing of rent
If a lessee refuses the rent increase asked by the lessor, can he force the lessee to move?
No. If the lessee refuses the rent increase, the lessor will have to go at the Tribunal administratif du logement to file an Application to modify the lease. It is a different case if the building was built or transformed five years ago or less.
Renewal of the lease and fixing of rent
Can a lessee refuse the rent increase asked by the lessor?
A lessee can refuse the rent increase by giving a written answer to the lessor in the month following the rent increase that he received from him.
Can a lessor ask for a deposit for the keys or for the furniture that he provides?
A lessor cannot ask for a deposit, whether it is for the keys or for furniture.
Can a lessor limit the number of occupants of a dwelling?
No, except in the case where the area of the dwelling justifies it.
What must I do if I want my son to occupy a dwelling that is presently occupied by a lessee?
So that a dwelling may be occupied by himself or his father, his mother, his son, his daughter or by any other relative of whom he is the main support, an owner must give a written notice to the lessee at least 6 months before the end of the lease, if it is a one year lease.
The lessee has one month to give his answer. If the lessee does not accept by writing, the owner will have to file an Application for repossession of the dwelling at the Tribunal administratif du logement.
Repossessing a dwelling
Can a lessee have a cat or a dog in his dwelling?
Yes, unless there is a clause in the lease that forbids it.
My lessee abandoned the premises two years ago. I just retraced him. Can I reclaim the unpaid rent?
The lessor has three years to file the application at the Tribunal administratif du logement.
Paying the rent
My lessee abandoned the premises. What must I do?
The lessor must minimize the damages by trying to rent the dwelling to another person. He may claim the lessee who has abandoned the premises a relocation indemnity to recover the lost rent.
A lessor and a lessee have concluded a lease. However, the lessee changes his mind and does not want to occupy the dwelling. Is he discharged from any responsibility?
No. A lease is a contract and a contract must be respected.
Following the signature of a lease, does a lessee have a ten day delay to annul (cancel) that lease?
No. There is no delay.
A lessee must move to another city. Is it preferable that he sublets his dwelling or that he assigns his lease?
If the lessee does not intend to occupy again his dwelling, it is better for him to assign his lease.
Assignment of a lease or subleasing
My joint tenant left the premises. May I remain in the dwelling by paying only my share of the rent?
The lessor has the right to receive the total amount of the rent. If he receives only a part of it, he can ask for the cancellation of the lease.
I am a lessee without a lease. May I leave the dwelling at any moment?
A lessee always has a lease, whether it is written or verbal. If there is no fixed term for the lease, the lessee must give to the lessor a notice of one month before leaving the premises.
I just bought a house. May I cancel my lease without any problem by paying 3 months’ rent?
No. The lease must be respected until the end. However the lessee could try to reach an agreement with the lessor or assign his lease.
Can a lessee undertake himself a repair for which the cost can be deducted from the rent?
He cannot do so without the authorization of the Tribunal administratif du logement except in the case of a necessary and urgent repair and also in that case the lessee is not able to reach the lessor in order to inform him about the situation.
Urgent and necessary repairs
What are the possible recourses of the lessee if the lessor neglects to make the necessary repairs?
There are many recourses available to the lessee:
A decision must be rendered by the Tribunal administratif du logement allowing one of these recourses to be applied.
For more information, see sections:
Urgent and necessary repairsMajor work
The sink (or the toilet) is clogged. Is it the lessee or the lessor who has to pay for the repairs?
The lessor must pay for the repairs except if he can establish that the lessee is responsible for the problem.
At what date must a lessor start to heat the dwellings of the building?
There is no specific date. The lessor must start to heat the dwellings of the building as soon as the climatic conditions justify it.
Can a lessee be noisy until 11:00 p.m.?
No. Whatever the time of day, according to circumstances, a lessee cannot make excessive noise.
If a lessor wants the dwelling visited by a potential lessee can he do so at any moment?
No. The lessor must obtain the lessee's consent.
Access to the dwelling and visiting rights
If a lessor wants to undertake repairs in a dwelling, can he do so at any moment?
The lessor must give the lessee a 24 hour verbal notice and undertake the repairs between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
For more information, see sections:
Access to the dwelling and visiting rightsUrgent and necessary repairs
If a lessor wants to visit a dwelling so as to verify its condition or if he wants it to be visited by a potential buyer, can he do so at any moment?
The lessor must give the lessee a 24 hour notice and make the visit between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Must the lessor fetch the rent or must the lessee go and remit the rent to the lessor?
The lessor must fetch the rent, except in the case where there is an agreement that says otherwise or if both of them are used to act differently.
Does a lessee have a reasonable delay to pay his rent?
No. As soon as the second day of the month, the lessor can file an application to recover the rent at the Tribunal administratif du logement.