Legal texts aren’t always easy to understand! If you’re a renter, here are two articles to help clarify things for you.
- My options when exiting a lease
- My rights when entering a lease
Entering a lease
How much rent can I be charged?
The landlord has to justify the amount of the rent. On the one hand, an increase may be justified if there have been major renovations or if property taxes have gone up, for example. On the other hand, the landlord doesn’t have the right to hike up the rent just to keep up with the local market rates. So, even if the neighborhood is booming and property values have doubled in the past two years, the landlord is not permitted to double the rent as a consequence.
This is true even if there’s a new tenant. So it’s always a good idea to ask how much the rent was before your arrival.
When and how can a landlord modify a lease agreement?
A lease agreement is a contract with a beginning date and an expiration date. The landlord may not change the agreement during its effective term. If the landlord wishes to change anything—whether the amount of the rent or the services that are included—he or she must notify you in advance that the next lease agreement will be different.
In a typical 12-month lease, the landlord must send you the proposed modifications in writing at least three months before the expiration of the agreement. You will then have one month to make your decision. You can do any of the following: 1) Accept the modifications; 2) Reject the modifications and move out; or 3) Reject the modifications and sign the lease agreement.
If you decide to continue living there, while rejecting the modifications, the landlord has the right to request that the Housing Authority (RLQ) evaluate the case. The RLQ will then decide and set the price that it deems reasonable.
You can find more details here.
Repairs, credit checks and post-dated checks
The rent may be paid by check, but this might not be the best payment method. In an attempt to kick you out, the landlord may purposely avoid cashing the check in order to allege that you didn’t pay your rent. And even in the absence of malice, there’s always the risk of the check being lost or being cashed at a time of the month when your finances are particularly tight.
The landlord has the right to require that you provide your legal name and current address. If the landlord wants to run a credit check, he or she must first ask for your permission to do so. Please note that you aren’t obligated to provide your Social Security number in order for a credit check to be performed.
Repairs, complaints and demands (in writing!)
If you want certain repairs to be made, include them in the lease agreement! Write down exactly what you want to have done and when you want it done. This will obligate the landlord to act and will also serve as strong evidence in the event that a lawsuit is ever filed.
Any complaint or demand you may have must be made in writing. By putting it in writing, you leave a paper trail that can come in handy as evidence that your demand is legitimate and not something that you just made up yesterday.
Don’t forget to put all agreements in writing!
*This information is provided solely for purposes of illustration. For the most up-to-date information, please consult the Régie du Logement du Québec(the Quebec Housing Authority).