The Tribunal administratif du logement is the rental board in Quebec, and is commonly referred to as the Regie du logement or simply “the Regie”.
If you rent a dwelling in Quebec, your rent increases, tenant rights, obligations, and evictions are managed by the Regie. A dwelling can refer to an apartment complex, a mobile home or a house. Essentially any form of shelter or property owned by an individual that is not the occupant. Due to the relationship between tenant and landlord, the Regie acts as the legal entity in which tenant responsibilities and landlord responsibilities are dictated.
The Regie du Logement
Most, if not all conditions in a rental agreement are dictated and managed by the rental board. The Regie du logement has its own legal body responsible for rental dwellings and any issues that might incur. In this sense, the Regie acts as a governing and enforcement body regarding all things rental.
Protection Of Dwelling And Housing
The Regie’s oversight ensures that there is due process in place for any demolition of a dwelling, conversion into another form or space, or sale of a building in which individuals live. This mandate gives landlords and developers a framework to work within and ensures that if an eviction of a renter occurs, the process is legal.
The Regie also has jurisdiction over the services, necessities, and acceptable possessions of a dwelling.
You might find that some of the services in your lease will be legally required, and therefore considered necessities. Necessities are factors that must be provided for you. For instance, dwellings must include electricity, water and heating. To get a better idea, let’s say you live in an apartment complex where heating is controlled by the landlord. By law, the landlord must set the heat to a specific temperature.
This includes things like snow removal, electricity, elevator, accessibility ramps, etc. This jurisdiction extends to mobile homes as well. Services include general amenities as well. The services portion of your lease is intended to specify what is included with the dwelling.
Possessions and Damages
Additionally, the Regie determines what are considered unlawful possessions on the premises, as well as what are considered damages to a property. This mandate is intended to protect the dwelling, from both the renter and the landlord. Possessions in this case also extend to cannabis, and what is considered to be a legal possession and use of cannabis within your lease. For more information, visit the Regie’s notice on Cannabis.
Unsanitary Conditions And Urgent Repairs
Part of the responsibility of the landlord and renter is to ensure that the sanitary conditions of the dwelling are safe, well-maintained, and clean. And any urgent repairs are dealt with by the landlord in a timely manner. This mandate allows tenants to take legal action against their landlord for any aspects of the dwelling which compromise their safety. This can be a leak, mold, broken heating, or any other poor habitable condition. A lessee can also submit an application to lower the rent based on any costs incurred due to the poor conditions of the dwelling.
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Rental Leases and The Regie du logement
Besides the physical dwelling itself, the Regie additionally holds jurisdiction over the leasing conditions and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant(s).
Main Obligations Of A Rental Lease
Under your lease, you will be given a list of obligations which you must follow. In some cases, there may be obligations for the period in which you are moving out of the premises.
Obligations during your lease:
- Pay full rent on an agreed date.
- Be respectful of the dwelling and its premises, including sanitary conditions.
- Avoid unnecessary renovations or remodelling unless given permission.
- Respect noise levels.
- No changing of the locks without prior permission.
- Notifying your landlord if there are any serious damages or defects to the dwelling.
Obligations after your lease ends:
- Ensuring the dwelling is left in an acceptable condition.
- Ensure all furniture and objects not belonging to the dwelling are removed.
A legal lease, and what is considered legally binding within a lease, is determined by the Regie. For instance, it is illegal to make tenants pay a rental deposit or last month’s rent In Québec, as determined by the Regie.
The Regie also determines the length, and conditions of forming, breaking and ending a lease. With this in mind, if you think there are any illegal conditions in your lease, you hold the right to report this to the Regie or seek their assistance.
Illegal conditions could be anything on your lease that is not permissible by the Regie. For example, a mandatory deposit of your last month’s cheque, or forbidding you to open your window during the winter.
Every year, the Regie produces a guideline intended for lessees and landlords. This guideline, which can be found on their website, includes a suggestion for the appropriate rent increase.
Rent increase suggestions are based on a formula using the income, expense, size and value of the dwelling. The formula then compares the dwelling to other dwellings of the same size. In addition, the Regie offers a forecast of increases in electricity, heating and parking costs. To learn more about the full list of criteria for rent increases visit Legis Quebec.
Joint Living And Rent Obligations
Joint tenancy or joint living are terms used to describe a dwelling with multiple residents. Typically in this instance, multiple people have signed the same lease. With an agreement on how the rent and other tenant responsibilities will be split.
According to the Regie, by living together, joint tenants enter a legally binding relationship. The Regie plays an important role in joint living as it determines the guidelines for landlords, and tenants in the case of a dispute and or failure to meet tenant obligations. Guidelines for joint living arrangements differ from guidelines where only a single tenant occupies the dwelling. The main differences are in regard to rent and legal responsibility.
Before entering into a joint tenancy, tenants must decide how to split the rent and who will be responsible if the rent is late. The Regie determines two possible options included in the rental lease agreement:
- Joint Obligation – This clause indicates that each tenant will split financial responsibilities. For example, let’s say three individuals sign onto a lease where each individual is responsible for paying $566 each, to pay a total rent sum of $1,698/month. In the case someone fails to pay their portion of the rent, only the individual missing their portion would be held responsible.
- Solidary Obligation – This clause indicates that each tenant will share the financial responsibility. Let’s say three individuals are responsible for $1,698/ month and a portion of the rent is missing. In this case, all three individuals will be held responsible.
Senior Citizens And Leasing
The Regies mandate extends to private residences, where self-sufficient or semi-sufficient seniors live. Typically in these types of dwellings, additional services are offered to help with the health and mobility of the seniors. Though these dwellings are privately owned, they must meet and comply with the regulations placed upon them by the federal and provincial governments. Dwellings that pass inspection are given a certificate of compliance. Any issues which may occur in these private residences and the legal contract of residence are handled by the Regie.
Keep in mind there are public senior long-term care facilities operated by the government. These public housing facilities are also under the jurisdiction of the Regie.
Ending A Lease With A Assisted Living Facility
The Regie has a set of regulations concerning the leasing agreement, and the end of the contract. As senior citizens may be dealing with health issues, leasing agreements for assisted living facilities are slightly different from regular leases.
With this in mind, a lessor or landlord, cannot contest an end of a lease agreement if the senior meets a set of criteria. One of the acceptable reasons is the need for relocation because of finances. Specifically if a senior has been given a unit in a low-rental housing dwelling (LRH). Other exceptions include safety issues, requiring additional care and services, or needing to relocate due to general health issues.
Documents needed to end a lease:
- Notice of leave, and request to end lease.
- Confirmation and proof of the reason for leave.
- Confirmation of proof for admission into a low-income housing unit, or other dwelling intended for the senior.
The deadline for cancellation of a lease:
- Lease length of 12 months: 2 months before date of leave.
- Lease length of 12 months or less: 1 month before date of leave.
- Lease length of Indeterminate term: 1 month before date of leave.
Additional exceptions and lease obligations exist, including what to do in the case of a death. For more information on senior living and leases please consult the official page.
Students And Leasing
Dwellings and units intended for student living have a specific set of rules, regulations and conditions under the Regie. Students who enter a lease with an educational institution are entitled to board during their enrollment at the institution as a full-time student.
Students who leave the institution due to graduation or a transfer to another educational institution automatically lose their right to the dwelling. Regarding summer boarding, students are not to stay during the summer semester unless an agreement was made between the student and the residence.
Regarding the renewing of a lease, students have a one-month period in which they must inform the residence and institution if they wish to renew or leave. With student leases, subletting is strictly prohibited.
Individuals Living With Disabilities
The Regie is by law required to oblige with the Canadian Charter of human rights and freedoms. Those living with disabilities are under the law, protected from any form of discrimination as recognized by the charter during the term of their lease.
The lease must not include any discriminatory clauses. In the case of discrimination either in the lease or by the lessor the Regie will take action. Moreover, a landlord cannot deny an application from an individual living with a disability on grounds that the dwelling is not adaptable for the applicant.
If you are facing discrimination please consult the Commision des droits de la personne est des droits de la jeunesse.
What If The Dwelling Requires Modification To Accommodate A Person With Disabilities?
If a modification is required, you might qualify for financial assistance. Keep in mind that you must first inform your landlord. To do so, apply for the Residential Adaptation Assistance Program, available through the Société d’habitation du Québec. The program offers financial assistance towards the construction or renovation of a dwelling.
For more information regarding individuals living with a disability and your lease, visit the official Regie page.
When renting in Quebec, it is important to understand your rights and obligations as a renter. This will help protect you from inappropriate and unlawful actions your landlord may try. The Regie legislates safety, maintenance and other rental rules to ensure both renters and landlords are fairly treated. If you have any questions, concerns or issues as a renter make sure you contact the Regie.