2023-05-24T10:38:11-04:00Mar 8, 2021|

Understanding your rights as a tenant in Quebec

For many newcomers, finding a place to live is one of the most important tasks you need to attend to once you arrive in Canada. Part of finding safe and comfortable housing for you and your family includes understanding your rights as a tenant. For people who choose to settle in Quebec, here’s what you need to know when finding a place you’ll be happy with.

In this article:

Want to learn more about how to rent in Canada?
See How to rent your first home as a newcomer in Canada for a step-by-step guide on finding the right approach, identifying where you want to live, and preparing the proper documents. 

What documents do you need to rent in Quebec?

Renting a house, apartment, or another type of dwelling in Quebec usually requires you to provide certain documents as part of your application process. These documents will support your financial information and any previous rental history. Here is a list of common documents you’ll likely be asked to submit as part of your rental application, which is known as a formulaire de bail de la Régie du logement in Quebec. An English and French version of the form is available. 

  • Identification: You may be asked to provide a valid identity document, such as a driver’s licence, health insurance card, passport, or Social Insurance Card (SIN), to verify your ID. However, a landlord cannot take a picture or photocopy of your information.
  • Proof of income: You should expect a potential landlord to ask you to provide proof of income, such as copies of recent pay stubs.
  • Bank statement: If you’re self-employed or still looking for a permanent job, you could be asked to provide a copy of a recent bank statement in replace of pay stubs and employment letters. This is a way to show a potential landlord you have sufficient money to pay your rent.
  • References: Similar to applying for jobs, you can expect to be asked for references from a trusted friend or manager who will speak to your character and reliability as a tenant. These references have to be based in Canada. In addition, a landlord could ask for the contact information of a current or previous landlord for the purposes of verifying your suitability as a tenant.
  • Credit report: A full credit report is often requested as part of your rental application. Your credit report is a summary of your credit history, and you’ll be provided with a three-digit number. The higher the number, the better your financial health. A full credit report, which will cost approximately $25 CAD, also shows any debts or bankruptcy. Alternatively, a landlord may request to obtain a full credit check on your behalf. They must have your consent to do this, and you would need to provide your first and last name, address and date of birth.
Tips Icon  Tip:
It takes at least a few weeks to a month for newcomers to receive their first Canadian credit card and a few additional months of credit transactions to generate a credit history. EQUIFAX and TransUnion are the two major credit rating organizations in Canada, and you can choose either one to get your credit report.
Get more information on how to rent without a credit history in Canada
See How to rent an apartment with no credit history or job letter in Canada for tips on how to showcase your reliability as a tenant and where to focus your search.

Eviction rules in Quebec

Generally, in Quebec, a tenant has the right to maintain occupancy of their rental property. However, a landlord can lawfully evict a tenant if they wish to subdivide, enlarge substantially, or change the use of the property. 

An eviction notice needs to include the reason and the date of the eviction. A landlord must provide the following amount of notice to evict:

  • Six months before, on a lease of six months or more
  • One month before, on a lease of six months or less
  • Six months before, on a lease without a set term.

A tenant then has one month from the time they receive the eviction notice to notify the landlord whether they accept or reject the eviction notice. If a tenant fails to act, it is assumed they have accepted the notice to evict. If a tenant refuses to leave, they can apply to the Régie du logement before the end of the one-month time limit.

According to the Tribunal administratif du logement, a landlord must also compensate the tenant for an amount that is equal to three months’ rent and reasonable moving expenses. Compensation is paid when the lease ends, and a tenant needs to present receipts as proof of moving costs. 

The only exception to evicting a tenant is if they or their spouse are:

  • 70 years or older 
  • Has lived in the property for 10 years or more
  • Has an annual income that makes them eligible for low-rental housing.

Repossession rules in Quebec

Unlike other provinces in Canada, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for personal use. Instead, they must submit a Notice of Repossession. The owner of an apartment or other type of dwelling can lawfully repossess it for the following reasons:

  • As a residence for themselves 
  • As a residence for their children or parents
  • As a residence for a spouse, they have legally separated or divorced. 
  • As a residence for a relative, they are supporting.
  • As a residence for an in-law related by marriage or common law.

A Notice to Repossess includes the date of repossession, the name of the person moving in and how they are related to the landlord. 

A landlord must provide the following amount of notice for repossession: 

  • Six months before, on a lease of six months or more.
  • One month before, on a lease of six months or less.
  • Six months before, on a lease without a set term.

A tenant has one month after receiving the notice to notify the landlord whether they accept or reject the repossession notice. Unlike in the case of an eviction, if a tenant fails to reply, it is assumed they have refused to vacate the property. 

There is no mandated compensation for repossessions, and a tenant will need to apply to the Régie du logement for compensation of any moving costs. 

The only exception to repossessing a property is if a tenant or their spouse are:

  • 70 years or older 
  • Has lived in the property for 10 years or more
  • Has an annual income that makes them eligible for low-rental housing.

Your responsibilities as a tenant in Quebec

While landlords certainly have a responsibility to their tenants, similarly as a tenant, you also have responsibilities to the landlord if renting a property in Quebec. They include:

  • Paying your rent on time and in full on the date it is due.
  • Contacting the landlord in a reasonable time period if a serious problem arises that involves repairs, such as a burst pipe. 
  • Keeping the rental property clean and maintain it, which could mean clearing snow or cutting the grass. 
  • Repairing any damages you or any of your guests may cause.
  • Acting reasonably and not disturbing other tenants in the building.
  • By law, a tenant is required to give back the rental property in the same condition it was received.

What is covered by a rental lease?

Unlike other provinces, in Quebec, you must pay for a copy of a standard lease agreement. They are available for sale at the offices of the Tribunal administratif du logement, in some bookstores and post offices, Staples (Bureau en gros), or by calling toll-free 1-800-463-2100. A copy can also be purchased online through Publications du Quebec. The cost of a Régie du logement Mandatory Form is $1.99 CAD. 

Here are the various components of a standard lease in Quebec: 

Lease Component Description
Parties to the agreement Section A of the lease agreement includes the name, address, telephone number and email of the landlord (lessor) and the tenant (lessee).
Description of the dwelling Section B in the standard agreement includes the address of the property and specifics such as indoor or outdoor parking, storage, appliances, and any furniture that is included in the rental agreement.
Terms of the lease Section C outlines whether the lease is a fixed-term or indeterminate (meaning no end date) lease. If it is fixed-term, it specifies the beginning and end date.
Rent Section D covers the cost of the rent per month or per week, the cost of any additional services offered by the landlord, date of payment, and method of payment, such as cash, cheque or electronic transfer. It also outlines whether the tenant agrees to give post-dated cheques and where the rent is payable to if it’s paid by mail.
Services and conditions Section E covers whether the by-laws of an immovable applies to the dwelling. (By-laws of the immovable relates to the enjoyment, use and maintenance of private and common areas in a co-ownership.) It also includes any works or repairs the landlord agrees to do before or during the tenancy, as well as applicable janitorial services. Specific conditions such as whether the landlord or tenant is responsible for bills like heating, gas and electricity are also included, as well as restrictions or rights such as keeping pets, access to other services like air conditioning or a laundry room. Finally, it outlines if the landlord or tenant is responsible for snow removal in areas such as entrance, walkway and driveway areas.
Restrictions on rent and lease Section F specifies that neither the landlord nor the tenant can apply to the Régie du logement to fix the rent or modify any other conditions of the lease unless the dwelling is located in an immovable erected five years ago, or less, or the dwelling is located in an immovable where the use of the building was changed to residential purposes five years ago or less. 
Notice to sublease Section G relates to if the tenant subleases the rental property and the conditions of any changes to the agreement, such as heating or lowering the rent. Those changes have to be communicated with the landlord. 
Signatures Section H is where all parties sign and date the lease agreement. 
Notice of family residence Section I confirms that if a tenant is married or in a civil union (such as common law), they need the written consent of their spouse to sublease or terminate the lease and verify that the rental property is being used as a family residence.

What is included in a lease in Quebec?

When renting a property in Quebec, you and your landlord should be using an approved standard lease agreement. It is important to note that application forms are legal and binding documents in Quebec, so it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities before signing. Here are some clauses or conditions that can and cannot be included in a lease in Quebec: 

Clauses that can be included in a lease 

The following clauses can be included in a lease as the law in Quebec leaves these conditions up to you and your landlord to decide on. They include:

  • Repairs to the property: If there are repairs your prospective landlord promises to make either before or once you move into the property, such as repairing the washing machine, be sure these are outlined in the rental agreement under Section E of the application form.
  • Utilities: Section E also covers who is responsible for each utility bill. The responsibility could fall on either the landlord or the tenant. Each item must be check-marked, including heating, gas, electricity, water, hot water service rental, hot water fees.
  • Smoking: A landlord may include a non-smoking clause in the lease, including tobacco and the use of cannabis, which is legal in Canada. This restriction would be included in Section E of the lease agreement. 
  • Pets: In Section E, a landlord can add a clause restricting pets or putting conditions on allowing certain types of pets or other restrictions (such as no dogs over a certain weight). 

Clauses that cannot be included or changed in a lease

The following clauses cannot be included in a lease:

  • Guests: A landlord cannot include a clause restricting a tenant from having guests, roommates or additional occupants, such as a family member.
  • Additional deposits or fees: A landlord cannot request a tenant pay any additional deposits or fees that are not outlined by the Tribunal administratif du logement, such as a key deposit or security deposit for a furnished apartment. A landlord in Quebec is only legally allowed to ask for the first month of rent in advance.
  • Payment for repairs: A landlord is not permitted to request a tenant pay for any or part of repairs that fall under the responsibility of the landlord. In Quebec, a tenant is only responsible for making minor maintenance repairs, such as small nail holes in the walls. If a landlord does not carry out the repair work, a tenant can ask the Regie du logement for permission to do the work themselves. The landlord must then reimburse the tenant for all associated costs.

Rental increase limits in Quebec

In Quebec, at the time of renewing a lease, the landlord is permitted to ask the tenant for a rent increase that is deemed reasonable. As a guideline, the Tribunal administratif du logement has created a calculation tool for rent increases. The guideline calculations (available for 2021 only in French language) are complicated and include factors such as property taxes, insurance, building repairs, and electricity or gas bills. In Quebec, a tenant has the right to accept or refuse the increase within one month following notice from the landlord. If a tenant does not accept a rent increase, they must notify the landlord and refuse the change. The lease will be renewed, but the landlord can go to the Régie du logement for a decision on the suggested changes.

What are my rights as a tenant in Quebec?

While it might seem that a landlord holds all the power when it comes to renting a property, tenants in Quebec also have rights designed to safeguard them. Here are some common questions on your rights as a tenant in Quebec: 

Do I have to take out tenant insurance?

Legally, you are not required to get liability insurance when renting a property. However, if you choose not to take out insurance, a landlord is not liable for loss or damage to personal property that should be covered under insurance. They are also not responsible for paying the costs of alternative accommodation if you need to temporarily relocate due to a disaster such as fire or flood. 

Tips Icon  Tip:
It is advisable to take out tenant insurance as it protects your belongings, living expenses, including moving costs, and liability claims if you cause accidental damage. Renter’s insurance is relatively inexpensive and costs around $25 CAD per month.

Can a landlord say no to overnight guests?

Despite what a landlord might say or even try to include in a rental agreement, they legally cannot prevent you from having overnight guests stay at your rental property. You have the right to decide who you can invite to visit and stay at your place. A landlord is not permitted to create any sort of limitations on your right to do this, nor can they charge you an extra fee or threaten to raise your rent if you have guests stay. However, please note, as a tenant you are also responsible for any disturbances or damages your guests may do to the property. 

Can a landlord say no to pets?

A landlord can refuse pets or add their restriction as a condition of the lease in Section E. However, the law in Quebec is not clear on whether a landlord can enforce “no pets.” In some instances, there are building by-laws that restrict pets. In this instance, a landlord should provide you with a copy of the by-laws. The only exception is a landlord must allow a support animal, such as a guide dog or support dog, per the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Alternatively, if a pet is disturbing other tenants in the building or damaging the property, a landlord could ask you to get rid of your pet. It is best to be upfront about owning a pet when entering into a tenancy agreement. 

Where to get help regarding your rights as a tenant in Quebec

If you have any questions or concerns about renting in Quebec, you can contact the Tribunal administratif du logement on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays between 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m, or Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on telephone 514-873-2245 or toll-free 1-800-683-2245. Alternatively, send a question through their website or write to:

Village olympique
5199, rue Sherbrooke Est
Bureau 2360
Montréal (Québec) H1T 3X1