The lease is a rental contract concluded between a landlord and a tenant in order to define their respective commitments concerning a dwelling.
The Administrative Housing Tribunal lease form has been mandatory since September 1, 1996.
Section A: Landlord and Tenant
This is where you enter the name and contact information of the landlord or tenant at the time of signing the lease.
Note that the landlord is not necessarily the property owner. The distinction is important if the tenant suffers damages and uses the recourses available to which he/she is entitled.
Section B: Description and Destination of the Rented Dwelling
In this section it is necessary to indicate the description and destination of the rented dwelling. This is the address of your new accommodation. There are also written accessories that are included in the rental.
Section C: Duration of the lease
This part is very important because the duration of the lease will subsequently affect the deadlines for the various notices such as the repossession of the dwelling, the increase in rent and others. Make sure that the duration indicated is the correct one.
Section D: Rent
This is where you indicate the amount of the rent and the method of payment. Note that there can only be one rent increase per year.
In addition, the only amount the landlord can ask for before you take possession of the dwelling is the first month's rent. No other fees or deposits can be requested.
Also note that the lessor cannot require post-dated cheques. Unless otherwise agreed, rent can be paid separately on the first of each month.
In addition, unless otherwise agreed, it is up to the landlord to collect the rent from your home.
Finally, it is important to ask for a receipt for proof of rent payments.
Section E: Services and Terms
Section E is used to record all negotiations between the landlord and the tenant: painting, repairs to be made, the deadline for completion before the delivery of the dwelling or during the lease. It also indicates whether the heating, hot water, water heater rental, electricity and water and garbage tax are the responsibility of the landlord or tenant. It stipulates the responsibilities for snow removal, access rights and the right to keep animals or not.
In addition, if there are building regulations, it is in this section that we will confirm that they were given to the tenant before the signing of the lease. If the tenant has not received a copy, the regulations will not apply.
It is important to note that in the absence of a report (descriptions, photos, etc.) of the premises when the dwelling is delivered to the tenant, the accommodation is presumed to be in good, livable condition at the start of the lease. It is therefore in your interest to document the process of taking possession.
Section F: Restrictions on the right to the fixing of the rent and the modification of the lease by the Administrative Housing Tribunal
Section F does not apply to all dwellings. It only needs to be completed when the accommodation is in a building:
- Rented by a housing cooperative;
- Built 5 years ago or less; Or
- Whose use for residential purposes results from a change of use dating back 5 years or less.
Beware of these apartments, because the landlord can increase the amount of the rent as he sees fit during the first 5 years.
Section G: Notice to New Tenant
This is where the law requires the landlord to indicate what the old rent for the dwelling was. This allows you to see how much of an increase there has been as a new tenant. There are recourses available to you when you consider that the difference between the rents is unjustified:
- If the amount entered in section G by the landlord is lower than the rent currently paid, the tenant has 10 days from the signing of the lease to request a review of the price of the rent from the Administrative Housing Tribunal.
- If the landlord has not entered this amount and the tenant discovers that the amount paid by the former tenant is lower than the amount he or she is paying, the tenant has two months after the start of the lease to request a review of the price of the rent from the Administrative Housing Tribunal;
- If the landlord has made a false declaration, the tenant has up to two months after becoming aware of the fraud to request a review of the price of the rent.
As you can see, knowing the previous rent is essential for defending tenant rights. There are various ways to obtain this crucial information:
- Contact the previous tenant;
- When you move out, promptly send a copy of your old lease to the new tenant for him or her to refer to and use as evidence.
Section H: Signatures
It is important to read the lease before signing it.
It is important that the tenant and the landlord sign both copies of the lease. The tenant must receive one of the two copies of the mandatory lease at the time of signing. Otherwise, the landlord has the obligation to give him one within 10 days.
Section I: Notice of family residence
For married or couples in a civil union, this section makes it possible to prevent the end of the occupation of the accommodation by the decision of only one of the spouses. The accommodation is then declared as a family residence.
Once the lease is signed, the tenant has the right to stay in his/her apartment as long as he/she wishes, as long as he/she respects his/her obligations. This is called the right to maintain occupancy. Only a decision of the Administrative Housing Tribunal can force a tenant to leave their accommodation. However, the law provides for exceptions to this right.
How to leave before the end of the lease?
Want to end your lease? What should you do to get rid of this contract that binds you to your landlord? Different solutions are available to you.
Amicable termination of the lease (breaking a lease)
Lease termination requires the agreement of both parties (landlord and tenant). You must notify your landlord of your intention to leave the dwelling and offer to conclude an agreement to terminate the lease. This agreement must be in writing, and it must mention the terms of the agreement such as the date of departure and the conditions, if applicable. Once signed, this agreement releases both parties from their respective obligations. It is important to keep a copy.
Note that the law provides for 4 cases in which the termination of the lease without the consent of the landlord is possible:
- if you are assigned low-rent housing;
- if you can no longer live in your accommodation due to a disability that occurred after the signing of your lease;
- if you are an elderly person who is permanently admitted to a CHSLD or to a residential home recognized by the Regional Board of Health and Social Services;
- if you are the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or if your safety or that of a child living with you is threatened.
Here is an example of a written lease termination agreement: Agreement_termination
Assignment of lease (lease transfer)
Assignment of lease allows you to assign your lease to a new tenant and, unlike subletting, frees you from all the responsibilities inherent in your lease. The lease or building regulations cannot prevent you from assigning your lease. It's a way to keep rent prices lower in our neighborhood – transferring your lease is an act of solidarity!
The steps to follow:
- You need to find a person willing to move into your place.
- You must send a notice of assignment of lease by registered mail to your landlord mentioning your intention to assign the lease to such person and on such date. You must provide the name and address of this person;
- Your landlord has 15 days from receiving the notice to refuse the lease transfer. In this case, he is required to tell you, in writing, the reasons for his refusal. His reasons must be “serious,” and this qualification is at the discretion of the Tribunal. However, insolvency, unreliability, a history of non-payment of rent or a record of being at fault for unsanitary conditions within a dwelling can be used as “serious” reasons. In this case, if you want to obtain the assignment, you will have to open a case at the Administrative Housing Tribunal against your landlord.
- Your landlord fails to answer you: the transfer will take place on the scheduled date, and you will be released from all your obligations since it is the new tenant who will now assume the rights and obligations provided for in the lease. It is preferable to have the new tenant sign a lease assignment agreement.
Here is an example of a lease transfer agreement
Here is an example of an assignment notice
Subletting is mainly used when you must leave temporarily but want to return to live in your home. You remain responsible for your lease and your rent. The lease or building regulations cannot prevent you from subletting your dwelling. If you choose to sublet your place for a fixed period, be aware that you cannot exceed the duration of your lease. In addition, following the same procedure as with an assignment of lease, you must inform the landlord of the sublease and the identity of the subtenant by sending a notice by registered mail.
Unlike the transfer, here the sub-tenant does not benefit from the right to maintain occupancy. Therefore, if he or she wants to stay in your apartment at the end of the lease, he or she will have to make an agreement with your landlord. For your part, if you wish to terminate your lease or prevent it from being renewed, you must inform your landlord according to the usual rules.
Here is an example of a sublease notice