The Dwelling

Access to the dwelling and visiting rights

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When a dwelling is up for rent or a residential building is for sale, both the lessor and the lessee have to abide by a number of rules about visiting the premises.

Even during the term of the lease, there may be times when the lessor needs to enter the lessee’s dwelling. There are rules that provide for these situations and dictate the way these visits should be made in order to maintain a good lessor/lessee relationship.

Dwelling for rent

You are a lessor. Your lessee has given you written notice that they will not be renewing their lease when it expires. Or, perhaps your lessee has given you two months’ notice, with an acknowledgement from the authority concerned, that they are terminating their lease for one of the following reasons specified by the law:

  • They have been allocated a dwelling in low rental housing.
  • They can no longer occupy the dwelling because of a disability.
  • They are a senior who has been permanently admitted to a residential and long term care centre (CHSLD) or a seniors’ residence where the care and services required by their state of health are provided.
  • 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.

When and how can you arrange visits to the dwelling for rent?

As soon as you have received your lessee’s notice, you can post a “for rent” sign and you have the right to arrange visits to the dwelling.

The lessor must act in a reasonable fashion and respect the lessee’s privacy and free enjoyment of the property, as well as the inviolability of the lessee’s home. The lessor and the lessee should come to an agreement on the conditions for visiting the dwelling.

Visits must take place between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The lessee may require you or your representative to be present and can refuse access to the dwelling if this is not the case.

During the term of the lease

You may need to enter the lessee’s dwelling during the term of their lease. In such cases, you must give 24 hours’ notice (either verbally or in writing). You have the right to inspect the condition of the dwelling, but you must exercise this right with discretion.

The same rule applies if you need to carry out repairs or do work in the lessee’s dwelling. If the dwelling is a condo, the notice can be given by the syndicate. However, if urgent repairs are required (e.g., a major plumbing leak or sparks in the electrical panel), you may have them done immediately without having to notify the lessee.

Locks

Changing the locks or adding a device restricting access to the dwelling can cause serious harm to one of the parties.

Neither the lessor nor the lessee has the right to change the locks on the doors of the dwelling without the consent of the other party, nor may they prevent access to the dwelling in situations where such access is permitted by law.

Building for sale

When you put a building up for sale, your obligations are essentially the same as when a dwelling is for rent.

However, you must give 24 hours’ notice (either verbally or in writing) every time you wish to arrange a visit with a potential buyer. Visits must also take place between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The lessee may require you or your representative to accompany the potential buyer during the visit.

Unless it is an emergency, visits to dwellings must take place between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Repairs must be done between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Summary

A lessor can inspect a dwelling or have work done in it. They can also sell the building or put a dwelling up for rent if its lease has not been renewed or has been terminated by the lessee for one of the reasons previous discussed. In order to do any of this, the lessor will need access to the dwelling.

The lessee, meanwhile, is entitled to privacy. It is thus in both the lessee’s and the lessor’s best interests to come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement.

In cases of conflict or improper conduct by either the lessee or the lessor, the Tribunal administratif du logement has the power to order access to the dwelling and to impose conditions for its access.