As a tenant in Quebec, you have certain rights that are protected by law. At the same time, you also have some obligations that you are required to follow. Let’s go over what your obligations are as a renter in the province of Quebec, as well as what responsibilities your landlord has to ensure you are given the right to enjoy your rental unit.
What Are Your Rights And Responsibilities As A Tenant In Quebec?
The following are the responsibilities you must accept as a tenant in Quebec:
- Pay the rent on time and in full by the due date
- Be responsible and careful with the unit
- Make any required minor repairs
- Don’t change the unit’s type of use
- When you move out, return the unit in the same condition as when you first moved in
- Don’t disturb other tenants
What Are The Rights And Responsibilities Of Your Landlord In Quebec?
Landlords are entitled to receive the full rental pay one time every month and should expect their tenants to take care of the rental unit as specified in the lease. However, there are also some responsibilities that landlords have towards their tenants in Quebec, including the following:
- Ensure the unit is habitable and safe
- Provide the tenant with peaceful enjoyment of the unit
- Make necessary major repairs as required (except minor repairs)
- Not change the form of the unit (ie. changing it from a residential unit into a commercial unit)
What If The Landlord Refuses To Make A Repair?
Landlords are required by law to make major repairs to a rental unit as required to ensure the place is safe and fit for habitation. However, tenants are responsible for making minor repairs.
If the landlord fails to make the repairs after being notified of issues, tenants can request permission from the Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL) to make the repairs themselves and ask to be reimbursed for the work done. If authorization from the TAL is given, specific conditions will be established for the work that needs to be done and set an amount for the job. The tenant can then set that amount from the rent.
That said, permission from the TAL for the tenant to do the work is not required if the repair is urgent.
What Should Be Included In Your Rental Lease?
A standard lease agreement in Quebec should include the following elements:
- Parties of the agreement, including the names and contact information of the tenant and landlord
- Names of all people living in the unit
- Description of the property
- Terms of the lease, including the beginning and end date
- Rent amount, how the rent should be paid, and when the rent is due
- Work that the tenant must do
- Work that the landlord must do
- Services and conditions, including use and maintenance of common areas and who is responsible for paying for utilities
- Notice of family residence to confirm if a tenant is married or in a common-law relationship, as written consent of spouses is required to sublease or terminate the lease
- Notice to sublease if allowed by the landlord
- Signatures of all parties involved
Can You Make Changes To A Rental Unit?
Tenants can make changes to the unit only as outlined in the lease. If the changes that the tenant wants to make are not described in the lease, permission must be sought by the landlord before any work can commence.
For instance, if you want to affix a bookshelf to a wall, you’ll have to ask your landlord for the go-ahead first. Further, if you build anything in the unit, you may need to take it down when your lease ends and cover the cost of any damage done when removing it.
Can A Landlord Say No To Pets?
In Section E of the standard lease agreement in Quebec, landlords can add a clause that restricts pets from a unit. The section also allows landlords to place conditions on the types of pets that are allowed, such as specific dog breeds or maximum weight.
If a pet is initially allowed in the unit but ends up being a nuisance or consistently causing a disturbance to other neighbours, the landlord may require that the pet be removed.
The law in Quebec isn’t entirely clear about whether or not landlords can lawfully restrict pets from a rental unit. Sometimes there may be building by-laws that restrict pets, in which case a copy of that bylaw should be provided to tenants. Support animals are an exception to this rule, as per the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
Can A Landlord Say No To Overnight Guests?
Landlords are not legally allowed to prevent tenants from having overnight guests. However, tenants are responsible for their guests, including any disturbances or damage they may cause.
Having said that, an overnight guest that never leaves might be something the landlord may want to know about. In this case, the “guest” may actually turn out to be living there, at which point their name might need to be included on the lease.
Can A Landlord Say No To Smoking?
Landlords can include a non-smoking clause in Section E of the standard lease agreement.
Rules On Security Deposits In Quebec
In Quebec, it is illegal for landlords to require a security deposit to cover the cost of any potential damage done to the unit in the future. Instead, a landlord can request the first month’s rent in advance. Security deposits are only legal if they are made by the tenant voluntarily.
Rent Increase Limits In Quebec
In Quebec, there is no limit on how much landlords can increase rent. That said, the tenant must agree that the rent increase suggested is reasonable and has the right to refuse it. The Régie du Logement publishes its suggested rent rate increase rate every year.
If a landlord wishes to increase rent, a written notice of rent increase must be provided to the tenant and include the following:
- The amount of the proposed new rent
- How much time the tenant has to refuse the increase
- The length of the new lease (if applicable)
If no agreement on the proposed rent increase can be reached, the landlord can file an application with the Régie du Logement within 1 month following receipt of the tenant’s response.
How To Terminate A Lease In Quebec
Under most circumstances, tenants are obligated to continue paying rent until the end date of the rental term as per the lease agreement and cannot terminate it early. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. Tenants may cancel a lease early under the following circumstances:
- The landlord is not upholding their responsibilities, such as ensuring the unit is safe or making necessary repairs
- The landlord agrees to end the lease
- Spousal or sexual abuse that requires you to flee from your abuser
- Special needs, such as the need to move to low-rent housing or a senior moving to a long-term care centre
- A disability that prevents you from continuing to remain in your unit
You may also choose to sublet your unit if you have written permission from your landlord or there is a clause in your lease that allows it. In this case, you would rent out your unit to another person who pays you rent, which you would then pay to your landlord. With a sublet arrangement, you intend to move back into your unit before your lease term is up.
If you choose to sublet your unit, you must provide your landlord with the contact information of the person who will be subletting your unit.
Evictions Laws In Quebec
Landlords cannot arbitrarily kick tenants out of their rental units as they see fit. Instead, there are certain scenarios in which landlords can lawfully evict a tenant in Quebec, including the following:
- To subdivide the property
- To substantially enlarge the property
- To change the use of the property
In order to evict a tenant, the landlord must provide the tenant with written notice in advance, depending on the term of the lease:
- Leases of 6 months or more: 6 months’ notice
- Leases for 6 months or less: 1 month notice
- Leases with no set term: 6 months’ notice
The eviction notice must also include the reason and the date of the eviction.
Once the tenant has received the eviction notice, they then have 1 month from the time of receipt to let the landlord know whether or not they accept it. If the tenant does not act, the landlord can assume that the tenant accepted the eviction notice. If a tenant does not leave, they can apply to the Régie du logement before the 1-month time limit expires.
Landlords must compensate the tenant for 3 months’ rent and moving expenses, within a reasonable limit.
Tenant rights and responsibilities across Canada
Quebec Tenant Rights FAQs
Do I have to take out tenant insurance to rent in Quebec?
Who can I contact if I have an issue with my landlord?
When must you pay rent in Quebec?
What happens if I pay my rent late?
Can the landlord refuse to do repairs?
Both tenants and landlords have specific responsibilities that they are required to uphold in Quebec. Any issues with either party can be dealt with by contacting the Tribunal administratif du logement if a resolution cannot be reached.