Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, we can provide you with legal opinions and represent you. There are many issues pertaining to residential rentals that fall under the jurisdiction of the Régie du logement. Below are a few relevant rules.
The law states that the provisions regarding a residential lease are public and that they cannot be limited by the parties, even in the case of a signed contract. For example, a landlord could only require advance payment of the first month of rent. This legal framework creates both rights and obligations for both tenants and landlords. Failure to comply can lead to a lawsuit before the Régie du logement, which is the only court of first instance having jurisdiction to hear a dispute between a residential tenant and a landlord.
The law also states that the rent must be paid on the first day of each month. Unless stated otherwise, the rent is collected at the tenant’s premises. The payment of the rent represents one of the most important obligations set out in the residential lease. Should the tenant fail to pay, the landlord may file an application with the Régie du logement to get a conviction. If the delay in receiving the rent goes beyond 21 days, the landlord may also request the termination of the lease. The tenant can avoid the termination of the lease by paying, prior to the rendering of the decision, in addition to the owed rent and fees, the interest at a rate established by law.
Frequent delays in paying rent may also bring about consequences for the tenant if such delays cause serious prejudice to the landlord. In the event of a demonstration by a preponderance of these two elements, an administrative judge of the Régie du logement may terminate the lease. The law does, however, allow the judge to order the payment of the rent at a specified date, which is in most cases the date set out in the lease, i.e. the first day of each month. Failure to comply can lead to the termination of the lease if the landlord files another application. The limitation for the order may vary and has already been the object of many debates.
The law stipulates that the tenant has the right to maintain occupancy of the dwelling. A landlord can, however, repossess the dwelling under certain specific conditions. A written notice must be sent to the tenant at least six months prior to the expiry of the lease, if it has a fixed term, or one month prior to the expiry of the lease, if it has a term of six months or less. The tenant can accept or refuse. Should the tenant refuse, the landlord can then refer to the Régie du logement to determine if the request is founded. Should the tenant accept, the court can then impose conditions that it deems fair and reasonable.
The tenant’s behaviour can also have an impact. Indeed, a tenant can become a problem for the dwelling or for the other tenants in the building. For example, a tenant can cause serious prejudice to other tenants due to their behaviour, their lifestyle or the noise they make. In such cases, the landlord can refer to the Régie du logement to have the lease terminated. The other tenants could also have recourse against the landlord for loss of enjoyment and/or against the problematic tenant for neighbourhood disturbance. We can help you determine the best way to deal with a situation of this nature and accompany you to the hearing.
Finally, the law specifically prohibits the harassment of a tenant so as to restrict their right to the peaceful enjoyment of the rented dwelling or to make them leave their dwelling. Of course, harassment is difficult to prove since it is often hidden. This is a situation where it is possible to obtain punitive damages along with common damages.