You may not be satisfied with a decision of the Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL, formerly Régie du logement or rental board). Whether you were the applicant or the defendant, there are usually recourses for contesting a decision. What are my options after I get a decision from the TAL?
After reading the decision, you will be in one of two situations depending on whether you are the applicant or the defendant. The applicant is the person who presents a request to the TAL. The defendant is the person opposing the request.
- You accept the decision and want it to be carried out.
- You are unhappy with the decision and want to challenge it.
- You do what the TAL orders.
- You are unhappy with the decision and want to challenge it.
What can I do if I want to challenge the TAL’s decision?
You can do one of the following:
- Request the TAL to either correct, cancel (also called “revoke”) or review the decision.
- Appeal the decision to a higher court called the Court of Quebec. To appeal means that you ask this court to change the TAL’s decision.
You must obtain permission from a judge of the Court of Quebec to appeal. Some cases cannot be appealed. For example, you can’t appeal a decision if the claim was for an amount of $15,000 or less.
- Ask for a review of the TAL’s decision by the Superior Court of Quebec.
What does it mean to get a decision corrected and how do I do this?
Correction means to correct an error made by the TAL. For example, the TAL might have made a calculation error, forgotten to sign the decision, or failed to make a decision on part of the request presented to it.
You cannot request a correction in these cases:
- your case is being appealed or reviewed
- the TAL’s decision has been carried out in whole or in part
To get a correction, go to the TAL with a certified copy of the decision or call the TAL. The TAL can correct the error right away if you have clearly identified it. You will receive the corrected decision by mail.
Other kinds of errors require a thorough analysis. If that is the case, you must fill out an application for correction and pay a fee. You will be reimbursed this fee if the TAL finds that you were right about the error.
You must make your request for a correction as soon as possible after you receive the TAL’s decision.
What is revocation and how can I request this?
Revocation means asking the TAL to cancel its decision and make a new one. You can ask for revocation if:
- You could not be at the hearing at the TAL because of fraud, an event beyond your control or for any other reason the TAL thinks is a good reason and you think the decision would have been different if you had been able to attend.
- You were prevented from presenting evidence at the hearing due to fraud, an event beyond your control or any other reason the TAL thinks is a good reason, and you think that the decision would have been different if you been able to present this evidence.
- The TAL failed to make a decision on part of your request.
- The TAL’s decision went beyond what was asked for in the request (e.g., the TAL gave $2,000 in damages when the request was only for $1,000).
Your request for revocation must be made within 10 days from the time
- you found out about the TAL’s decision, OR
- of the event preventing you from coming to the hearing or from presenting your evidence.
You have to pay a fee, but it will be reimbursed if the TAL agrees to revoke the decision.
What is a review and how can I request this?
A review means that you ask the TAL to change its decision.
Requests for review can only be made in cases involving setting or changing the rent or changing another part of the lease.
Your case will be heard again by at least two judges administrative judges (formerly known as commissioners) of the TAL.
You must make a request for a review within one month from the date of the decision. You will have to pay a fee.
In your request, make sure to include all the reasons why you disagree with the initial decision because the TAL will only listen to arguments listed in your request.
Do I need to notify the other people involved in my case about a request for correction, revocation, or review?
Yes. When you make this kind of request, you must “notify” the other side with a copy of the request. Notifying means sending a copy of the request to the other side so that they know about it and can prepare for the hearing.
You can notify in various ways:
- bailiff (the notification will then be called « service »)
- registered mail
- any other way that lets you prove the other people involved got a copy
If you think the opposing side might not pick up an application served by registered mail, it could be a good idea to serve it by bailiff.
If I miss the deadline by a few days because I was sick, can I still challenge the TAL’s decision?
Sometimes. The time limit for challenging a decision of the TAL can be extended if you can give a good reason for the extension and it does not cause any major harm to the other side.
What about an appeal to the Court of Quebec?
When you cannot apply for correction, revocation, or review of a decision made by the TAL, you can usually appeal the decision to the Court of Quebec.
The right to appeal a TAL decision to the Court of Quebec is not automatic. First, you must submit a document asking the court for permission to appeal. This document must be delivered by bailiff to the opposing side and filed in the office of the court within 30 days of the date of the TAL decision.
The following decisions cannot be appealed:
- decisions about setting or changing or changing another part of the lease
- decisions where the only thing in issue in the case is the recovery of $15,000 or less
- decisions about the sale of parts a housing complex, conversion of a building into divided co-ownership, and demolition of a dwelling
- decisions on requests to deposit the rent with the court instead of paying it to the landlord
In appeals before the Court of Quebec, the court can decide to hear the whole case again. But it is also possible that you will be given permission to only argue certain aspects of the TAL’s decision and not others. You must therefore make sure to present the appropriate evidence and arguments to the judge.
The legal process before the Court of Quebec is generally more complex and expensive than before the TAL. Do not hesitate to consult a legal professional if necessary.
What is a review by the Superior Court?
The Superior Court has a special power to supervise other Quebec courts and tribunals.
Because of this power, you can ask the Superior Court to review a TAL decision when you believe you are in one of these situations:
- The TAL made a decision that went beyond its power to make decisions.
- There was something so wrong with the process that it resulted in injustice.
- The person making the decision at the TAL did something illegal or abused their authority to such an extent that the hearing became a “fraud”. In other words, whatever this person did or said resulted in an obvious injustice.
For example, let’s imagine that a landlord asks the TAL to increase the rent and change the lease to let him take back a garage. The TAL agrees to change the lease and slightly increase the rent, but also adjusts the rent to take into account the tenant’s loss of the use of the garage.
Unhappy with the loss of the garage, the tenant applies to review the decision and the TAL grants the request, returning the use of the garage to the tenant. However, the TAL is only allowed to review decisions that set the rent and this decision also involved the use of the garage. The landlord can ask the Superior Court to review the TAL’s decision to return the use of the garage to the tenant because the TAL had no power to make it.
The review process is complicated and can be expensive. For help, consult a legal professional.