Your things are packed and you’re ready for the big move… But before you leave for new pastures, it’s a good idea to know your responsibilities and your landlord’s obligations! Quebec’s laws are very specific in laying out the landlord and tenant responsibilities, so it’s a good idea to be informed before you move!
Leaving an Apartment
When you’re renting an apartment, it’s a good idea to remember that it doesn’t belong to you! You have a right to live there since you’re paying rent, but the premises remain the landlord’s property. That means that if you modify walls, paint the apartment of drill holes, your landlord has every right to ask you to change those things back to the way they were before you move out.
If you can’t or won’t fix the apartment before moving, your landlord can charge you to have it done!
Because it’s your responsibility to keep the apartment in good condition, it’s a good idea to protect yourself by taking photos of what the place looks like BEFORE you move in! Take detailed photos, and make sure your landlord has a copy of them for record-keeping. Make sure you also have a written record that your landlord acknowledges the state the apartment was in before your move.
This should go without saying, but it’s your responsibility to pay rent on time, every month. If you don’t, your landlord can sue you for the amounts owed, and worse, you could eventually get evicted!
Commercial vs. Residential
When renting an apartment, your lease is RESIDENTIAL, not commercial! If you plan on operating a small home business such as a massage parlour or a hair salon in your apartment, it’s a good idea to speak to your landlord about it first. They’ll be able to give you important information about zoning rules for the building you’re in.
You apartment is your home; that means even the landlord can’t just barge in unannounced. However, you’re still obligated to allow your landlord to inspect the premises and show the apartment to visitors if you’re leaving soon. That means you can’t change the locks without letting your landlord know, and you can’t prevent them from visiting within reasonable limits!
Most rentals in Quebec are protected by a lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant. Quebec’s Régie du lodgement oversees lease agreements and arbitrates disputes when they arise. There are a few key things you should know about your lease:
You can’t break a lease. You need your landlord’s consent if you want to leave and stop paying rent BEFORE the lease is up. Sometimes, landlords will agree to let you go if you pay three months in advance, but it’s up to them.
Lease transfers and subletting: you are legally allowed to transfer your lease to someone else OR sublet your apartment. However, you need your landlord’s consent in both cases. The landlord can refuse, but only if they have serious reasons for doing so (for example, the person you want to transfer the lease to has bad credit). Visit the Régie’s website for detailed information on this complex topic.
Lease Renewals: each year, the landlord has the right to increase rent for an apartment, and the tenant has the right to refuse within one month of receiving the landlord’s notice. If the tenant does nothing, the lease is automatically renewed.
These are just a few of the legal technicalities surrounding lease agreements. We’re only providing these as general information, and we encourage you to visit the Régie’s website for more detailed information.