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After you sign

 

Things to do after signing a lease

  • By law, once a tenant has signed a lease he/she must get a copy within 10 days of signing it.
  • Make sure to call up the utilities companies to set up an account with them. Check out the useful links and resources for a list of phone numbers.
  • Confirm the moving date and time with both the landlord and tenant.
  • Once you move into your new apartment:
  • Change your address, contact Canada Post (www.canadapost.ca)

Extension or termination of the lease

Pay particular attention to the amount of notice the landlord and tenant are obliged to give to notify each other of a renewal or non-renewal of the lease. This is listed on the back page of your lease. The tenant is obliged to notify the landlord of his or her intention not to renew the lease within the stipulated time frame (usually three months prior to lease end), otherwise it can be renewed automatically, and the tenant will be held responsible for the rent for another year.

Remember, the only way to communicate with your landlord is in writing, sent by registered mail, as you may be required to prove that the letter was actually sent.

** A lease cannot be terminated by paying a penalty.**

If the landlord intends to either increase the rent or make other changes to the lease, he or she is required to notify you of these changes in writing at least three months before the lease expires. You have 30 days to respond to this letter.

If you want to stay for another year but do not accept the new conditions in the landlord's letter (i.e. you think the rent increase is unreasonable), you must respond to the landlord's letter within one month indicating that you would like to renew the lease but that you do not accept the new changes. After having received your response, the landlord may try to negotiate with you. However, if no agreement can be reached, it is the landlord's responsibility to request that the Régie du Logement assist in resolving the matter.

If you do not accept the new conditions and do not wish to prolong the lease you must respond to the landlord's letter within one month of its receipt stating that you do not wish to renew the lease. Whether or not you receive a letter from the landlord, if you do not plan to stay, you must notify the landlord in writing at least three months before the end of your lease.

Remember you have only 30 days to respond to a notice from your landlord in writing otherwise your lease will get renewed automatically for another 12 months at the rent the landlord has proposed. The 3 months notice will not apply in this case.

 

Lease Length

Step 1:
Notice of Lease Renewal/Canceling (by tenant) or Rent increase (by Landlord

Step 2:
Making your Decision: Getting back to your Landlord

Step 3:
Application to the Rental Board by Landlord to contest Refusal of Rent Increase

12 months or more 3 to 6 months before end of lease Within one month following receipt of the notice, otherwise it will be considered that you have agreed to the continuation of your lease and its modifications. Within one month after receiving the lessee’s refusal; otherwise the lease is renewed.
12 months or less 1 to 2 months before end of lease
Indeterminate term 1 to 2 months before end of lease
Lease of a room 10 to 20 days before end of lease Contest could go to small claim court? Contest could go to small claim court?

Rent increase

The Quebec Lease Law allows a rent increase every year. There is no ceiling on rent increases and landlords may try to impose a significant increase on a new tenant. The Tenants Rights' Association, a lobby group for tenants, studies the annual costs to landlords and forecasts a percentage increase in rent. This is designed to help tenants decide whether or not the increase they are being asked to pay is reasonable. If you would like to find out the forecast for the current year, contact the Regie du Logement (514-873-2245) before you sign the lease. You have the right to know the amount of rent the last tenant paid, and if it has been raised excessively, you can ask the landlord for justification for the increase.

If, after having signed the lease, you discover that the rent has been significantly increased, talk to the landlord. There may be a reason why the rent has been increased so substantially, either due to major repairs or renovations which have been carried out, an increase in the services provided by the landlord, or a large increase in the property tax paid by the landlord. Such things are legal justifications for a rent increase.

If, after talking to the landlord, you still think the increase is unjustified, you can contact the Regie du Logement (514-873-2245) to request that they assess whether or not the increase is justified. This should be done within 10 days of the signing of the lease if the landlord has told you the amount of rent the previous tenant paid, and within 2 months if the landlord failed to do so.

The Regie du logement will convene a hearing where both parties can present their case. The Regie du logement will decide whether or not the rent was increased appropriately, and whether or not compensation should be awarded. Until a decision is rendered by the Regie du logement, you are required to continue to pay the rent as specified in the lease.

Remember, negotiate with the landlord before taking the matter to the Régie du logement. Keep copies of all the correspondence between you, the landlord and the Regie du logement. All communications should be in writing and sent by registered mail. The chances are that you may not be the only one whose rent has been unjustly increased, so try talking with other tenants in your building so that you may be able to deal with the landlord as a group.


Breaking a lease in Québec

Unfortunately, this is not possible in Québec. When a tenant signs a lease he is responsible for the term he agreed upon with the landlord.


The ONLY specific situations when one can get out of their lease are:

  • A tenant is allocated a dwelling in low income housing.
  • A tenant can no longer occupy his dwelling because of a handicap.
  • An elderly person is admitted permanently to a residential and long term centre or a foster home.
  • Conjugal Violence.

 

Any other reasons such as:

  • disagreement between roommates
  • needing a larger dwelling
  • financial problems
  • going on exchange
  • graduating
  • buying a house

…do not allow a tenant to cancel their lease. The tenant can always try to come to an agreement with the landlord. Remember any agreement between the landlord and tenant has to be in writing.

The only legal way to get out of a lease is to sublet or transfer your lease. In certain cases, such as joint tenancy, there may be restrictions on the right to sublet or transfer the lease. Check out our Subletting/Lease Assignment page for more information.