Here are 4 important things to consider when facing this challenge :
Is your tenant constantly making noise and disturbing your other tenants? Have they changed the locks without giving you a copy of the key? Are they conducting unauthorized renovations or construction? Are they neglecting your property to the point that it has become unsanitary? There are so many cases where tenants can become a miserable headache for landlords.
Assuming that the tenants can, in principle, stay in the rented accommodation for as long as they like, what are the possible remedies or solutions available to a landlord dealing with a problematic tenant?
Here are four important things to consider when facing the difficulty of such a tenant.
1. Notify the tenant in a timely manner
It is essential for the owner, as soon as they become aware of a problem or defect, to immediately take the necessary measures in order to try to remedy it. Indeed, the owner must take the necessary measures to ensure that each tenant does not interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of the premises to other tenants. In the scenario where the landlord ignores this obligation, the other tenants may demand from the landlord a reduction in rent and damages. Thus, not only sending a notice or formal notice limits the owner’s risk of damages, but in certain cases, sending such a notice could therefore settle the situation without having to open a file at the Régie du logement.
2. Respect the Deadlines Prescribed by Law
Depending on the problem you are facing, it’s possible that the law provides certain deadlines or certain imperative steps to which you will have to submit.
For example, before having access to the property, you must advise your tenant of your intention to visit the rented accommodations. Except in cases of emergency, a notice of 24 hours is generally accepted as reasonable.
Another example to consider: in the event that major work must be carried out in the premises and this work results in the temporary relocation of the tenant, the owner must notify the tenant at least ten days before the date scheduled for the work. However, if the tenant is to be relocated for more than seven days, the notice must be given at least three months in advance. If the tenant refuses to leave the premises or does not respond to the notice, the owner must then contact the Régie du logement within 10 days of the refusal so that the Commissioner decides on the advisability of relocation of the tenant.
These are two examples requiring advanced notice, but the law provides for several others. The resumption of housing for the purpose of personal accommodation, the modification of the lease, situations where the housing becomes unfit for use, are all situations requiring the sending of a notice and are accompanied by a specific deadline.
It is therefore important for the owner to properly identify the problem in order to meet regulatory requirements.
3. Cases When a Lawyer is not Permitted to Represent you before the Régie
As a general rule, the owner can be represented by a lawyer before the Régie du logement. However, if the request to the Régie seeks exclusively a monetary claim of $15,000.00 or less, a lawyer cannot represent the owner at the hearing before the Commissioner. Despite this rule, a lawyer is authorized to help the owner prepare their case, collect the evidence and structure their arguments so that they arrive ready to plead before the Commissioner.
4. Cases When the Régie du logement is not Competent
The Régie du logement is an administrative tribunal specializing in residential leases. The Régie therefore has exclusive jurisdiction at first instance, to the exclusion of any other court, when the amount claimed in relation to a housing lease does not exceed $85,000.00. Also, the Régie possesses the authority with exclusive jurisdiction when the request, regardless of the amount, relates to the renewal of the lease, the fixing of the rent, the resumption, the subdivision, the change of use or the substantial extension of a dwelling or low rental housing.
Otherwise, as the Court of Appeal recalls, the Régie du logement does not have jurisdiction to rule on extra-contractual remedies between landlords and tenants. In other words, a claim between the landlord and tenant that does not involve the residential lease could not be heard by the Commissioner. In the event of such a scenario, the litigation should be heard by the Court of Quebec.