Termination of a lease

Spousal Violence, Sexual Aggression or Violence against a child

Télécharger le PDF : Notice of termination of a lease because of spousal violence or sexual aggression

The Civil Code of Québec provides that a lessee may terminate a lease during its term if the following is the case:

  • The safety of the lessee or of a child living with the lessee is threatened because of the violent behaviour of a spouse or former spouse or because of a sexual aggression, even by someone who is not the lessee’s spouse or former spouse.
  • The termination of the lease is a measure that will help ensure the safety of the lessee or of a child living with the lessee.

Only the person who signed the lease may apply to have it terminated. People who live in the dwelling with the person who signed the lease, but did not sign the lease themselves, can vacate the dwelling without applying.

Termination of a lease because of spousal violence or sexual aggression takes effect two months after a notice is sent to the lessor if the lease is for a term of 12 months or longer, or one month after the notice is sent if the lease is for an indeterminate term (no set length) or a term of less than 12 months.

In all cases, the termination takes effect before the two month or one month period expires if the parties so agree or when the dwelling, having been vacated by the lessee, is rented out again by the lessor during that same period.

The notice must be sent with an attestation from a public servant or public officer designated by the Minister of Justice, who, on examining the lessee’s affidavit that there exists a situation involving violence or sexual aggression, and other factual elements or documents supporting the lessee’s statement provided by persons in contact with the victims, considers that the termination of the lease is a measure that will help ensure the safety of the lessee or of a child living with the lessee.

If a lessee wishes to obtain an attestation to terminate their residential lease on the grounds that their safety or the safety of a child living with them is threatened, they must contact the office of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions for the courthouse that serves their municipality or contact their local Crime Victims Assistance Centre (CAVAC).

The lessee is required to pay rent until the date set for the lease to be terminated.

However, if part of the rent covers the cost of services of a personal nature provided to the lessee or to a child who lives with the lessee, the lessee is only required to pay the part of the rent that relates to the services that were provided before they vacated the dwelling. The same applies to the cost of such services if they are provided by the lessor under a contract separate from the lease.

Note: For more information or to obtain an attestation, visit the Ministère de la Justice’s website at Minister of Justice.