Tribunal administratif du logement
Two lessees or more from the same private seniors’ residence can, in certain circumstances, come together to file a joint application before the Tribunal administratif du logement.
It is possible to file a joint application when the sole purpose of the application is to
(1) obtain a rent reduction based on the lessor’s failure to provide one or more of the same services included in their respective leases, including domestic help, personal assistance, recreation, meal, security, ambulatory care and nursing care services; or
(2) have declared, in the interest of public order, the nullity of clauses whose effects are substantially the same and which are stipulated in their respective leases.
All lessees who are parties to the application must sign the application. Since a single application is filed for all lessees, they must pay fees exigible for only one application, regardless of the number of signatories.
The joint application must then be notified to the residence. When it is notified, the application must be accompanied by the exhibits supporting it or by a list of the exhibits that indicates that they are accessible on request. Proof of notification and a list of the exhibits in support of the application must be filed in the record of the Tribunal within 45 days of the application being instituted.
If a lessee does not want to represent themselves at the hearing, they can mandate another lessee who is also a party to the joint application to represent them. To this end, they must indicate this mandate on the application or, failing that, on the Joint application – Power of attorney – Lessee representing another lessee form.
An individual may also be represented by their spouse, a lawyer, a relative or a friend under certain conditions.
A lessee who is represented by a mandatary other than a spouse or a lawyer must provide the Tribunal with a signed, written mandate, indicating, in the case of a natural person, the causes preventing the party from acting themselves. Such a mandate must be free. At the hearing, your mandatary will act on your behalf. They must have first-hand knowledge of the facts or be able to prove these facts using witnesses or otherwise, as you would have yourself.
A party may also be assisted at the hearing by a trusted person due, for example, to the person’s age, health, vulnerability or level of proficiency in the language. A community organization to which the government has granted a mandate to assist lessees from private seniors’ residences can also assist a lessee.
Assistance must be provided free of charge. The trusted person is there to reassure the party and to help them handle, read and understand their documents. However, the trusted person cannot represent a party. They cannot provide legal advice or opinions, question or cross-examine witnesses, or argue before the Tribunal. Being assisted by a trusted person does not prevent a party from also being represented.
Whenever the Tribunal administratif du logement receives a joint application, it must, before holding a hearing on the application, convene all parties to what is known as a “management” conference. This notably allows the Tribunal to inquire about the situation of the other lessees at the private seniors’ residence who may or may not be parties to the application.
If the Tribunal notes at the management conference that the rights or interests of the other lessees at the residence are liable to be affected by a clause whose effects are the same as those sought by the joint application or by the loss of a service sought by the application, the Tribunal must order that the lessees be “impleaded,” i.e. become parties to the application.
As required, the Tribunal also orders the operator of the private seniors’ residence to notify to each of the impleaded residents a copy of the joint application and the other relevant documents, of the decision ordering that they be impleaded and of the explanatory notice setting out, among other things, the reasons why the residents have been impleaded as well as their right to object, as explained below.
The Tribunal can also order the operator of the private seniors’ residence to send a copy of those documents to the health and social services centre that performs duties related to the certification of the residence.
The impleaded lessees have the same rights as any other party to the dispute and may consequently intervene in the proceedings to express their point of view and present any additional evidence they wish to bring to the attention of the Tribunal. The decision rendered by the Tribunal will be opposable to them, which is to say that the conclusions reached by the administrative judge will also apply to them.
At any moment, and until such time as a decision is rendered in the case, a lessee can object to being impleaded by the Tribunal. To this end, they need only advise the Tribunal in writing. Once the Tribunal receives the notice, the lessee is no longer a party to the joint application.
At the end of proceedings, a copy of the decision is sent to all parties concerned. If the Tribunal previously ordered the operator of the residence to notify a copy of the application to the health and social services centre that performs duties related to the certification of the residence referred to in the application, a copy of the final decision will be sent to the centre.