Repossession of a dwelling
Have you received a notice indicating that your landlord is considering repossessing your home, either for himself/herself or for a member of his family? You have rights.
To repossess a dwelling, the landlord must respect certain rules:
- Repossession can never take place before the end of the lease.
- The landlord bears the burden of proving that the accommodation is requested for him/her, a member of their family or a relative for whom they are the main support.
- There can be no repossession if the building belongs to a company, to several people who are not spouses or to a trust.
- There can be no repossession if the tenant or his/her spouse is aged 70 or over, has occupied the dwelling for at least 10 years and has an income equal to or less than the maximum income allowing him/her to be eligible for low-rent housing. However, under article 1959.1 of the Civil Code of Québec, there may be other criteria that allow repossession.
Here are the steps for repossessing housing and the notice periods:
|1st step: The landlord gives notice of repossession||2nd step: The tenant responds||3rd step: Application to the Administrative Housing Tribunal by the landlord|
|Lease of more than 6 months||Requires a notice of 6 months before the end of the lease||Within one month of receipt of the notice from the owner. If the tenant does not respond, he is deemed to have refused to leave his dwelling||Application to the Administrative Housing Tribunal by the landlord: Within one month of the refusal or of the expiration of the tenant's response period|
|Lease of 6 months or less||1 month before the end of the lease||Within one month of receipt of the notice from the owner. If the tenant does not respond, he is deemed to have refused to leave his dwelling||Application to the Administrative Housing Tribunal by the landlord: Within one month of the refusal or of the expiration of the tenant's response period|
|Lease for an indefinite period||6 months before the scheduled date of the takeover||Within one month of receipt of the notice from the owner. If the tenant does not respond, he is deemed to have refused to leave his dwelling||Application to the Administrative Housing Tribunal by the landlord: Within one month of the refusal or of the expiration of the tenant's response period|
The notice must specify:
- The scheduled date of repossession.
- The name and address of the beneficiary (who will be taking over the dwelling).
- The beneficiary’s relationship with the landlord.
- Restrictions and exceptions that apply in certain circumstances when the tenant or his/her spouse is 70 years of age or older.
Am I obliged to accept and leave my accommodation?
No, in any case! You always have the right to refuse a repossession. For example, in the case where the repossession notice received was sent out of time, it would be unlawful for your landlord to dislodge you if you refuse to leave.
In addition, if you wish to receive financial compensation, which may include moving expenses, you must refuse the repossession or make a written agreement with the landlord. Note that if you do not respond to the notice, you are presumed to have refused the repossession. It will be up to the landlord to take steps with the Administrative Housing Tribunal if he wants you to leave your accommodation.
It should be noted that a repossession of a dwelling may be rejected by the court if the tenant demonstrates that the landlord is in bad faith or has another vacant dwelling that is equivalent, etc.
What if recovery takes place?
Following a repossession, it is important to return to check whether the grounds for the repossession have been respected. Indeed, your landlord cannot lease your accommodation to a person other than the beneficiary without having made a request to the Administrative Housing Tribunal. In such a case, you could obtain punitive damages from the court because the landlord did not respect the terms of the repossession.
Eviction for subdivision, change of assignment and enlargement
Have you received a notice in the mail that your landlord is evicting you? You must act quickly.
For an eviction, the owner must send a notice within the same timeframe as for repossession. For this type of eviction, however, mandatory compensation is provided for by law, i.e., payment equivalent to 3 months' rent, plus moving expenses. The court could grant higher compensation if the tenant demonstrates that he/she incurs damages that are greater than the compensation provided.
Note that if the tenant does not respond to the eviction notice within one month of receiving it, he is presumed to have agreed to leave, unlike the takeover.
To refuse the eviction, the tenant must apply to the Administrative Housing Tribunal within one month of the notice. To best counter the notice, it is necessary to verify that all municipal by-laws are respected, and that the owner has the real intention of changing the use of his building (e.g.: architect's plan, the necessary funds).