The Dwelling

Urgent and necessary repairs

If there is a serious defect or breakage that affects the preservation or the use of the dwelling or building in which you are a lessee, and your lessor neglects to take corrective action, you can perform repairs or incur expenses, provided they are urgent and necessary. Examples include:

  • Major plumbing or roof leaks
  • Faulty wiring
  • Clogged sewer lines
  • Rotten stairs or balconies that give way
  • Heating problems during the winter
  • Faulty locks on doors to the dwelling

Another example: If your lessor refuses or neglects to have your heating oil tank filled in the winter, you may ask a specialized company to deliver oil.

An exceptional measure!

Although you are permitted under law to perform necessary repairs and incur expenses in urgent situations like the ones listed above, keep in mind that these are exceptional measures that should only be taken with great caution and in good faith, and will have to be reported to the lessor.

What do I do?

Before you perform any urgent work or incur any expenses, you must make every effort to get in touch with the lessor or their usual representative. Make a note of the times and dates of your calls and the names of anyone you speak to. Also keep a copy of any written notice that you send to the lessor.

After you have notified or tried to notify your lessor, and either they have not taken timely action or you are unable to reach them, you can call a qualified person to perform the urgent repair, such as a plumber, an electrician or a carpenter. But remember:

  • They must perform essential repairs only.
  • Repair costs should be kept to a minimum, as though you were repairing your own personal property.

A temporary solution

You cannot order an entire new set of pipes or a new heating system or completely redo the roof. What is important at this stage is sealing the leak in the pipes, repairing only the part of the roof that is leaking or getting the heat back on. The lessor can always step in and continue the work that you have begun.

What about the expenses?

The lessor has to reimburse you for any reasonable expenses you are claiming. You must give them the bills, receipts and other supporting documents. If you have repaired movable property, like a refrigerator, you must return the parts that have been replaced to the lessor.

If your lessor refuses to reimburse expenses incurred for urgent and necessary repairs, you are entitled to withhold this amount from future rent. Authorization from the Tribunal is not required.

Remember also that you are legally required to inform your lessor as soon as you become aware of a serious defect or deterioration, whether the situation is urgent or not.