Eviction is an exception to a tenant’s right to remain in their apartment. It is a process for a landlord to take back an apartment to carry out certain major projects. The landlord must respect rules for notifying and compensating the tenant. If the tenant disagrees, they can contest the eviction request at the Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL, formerly Régie du logement or rental board).
What is eviction?
It is a legal process for a landlord to take back an apartment for any of the following major projects:
- subdivide it (for example, convert an eight-room apartment into two four-room apartments)
- demolish it (for example, transform a duplex into a single-family home)
- enlarge it substantially (for example, add a room)
- change its use (for example, convert it to a commercial space).
Eviction is one of the few exceptions to a tenant’s right to remain in an apartment as long as they wish. In legal terms, this is known as “the right to maintain occupancy”.
Eviction is different from a situation in which a landlord wants to take back an apartment to live in it or to house a family member. That is known as “repossession of an apartment”. For more information, see our article Repossession of an apartment.
When is eviction not permitted?
A landlord can only request eviction for the purposes mentioned above. (Of course, a landlord and tenant can always reach a mutual agreement to end a lease.)
In addition, a landlord cannot evict a tenant if the tenant or their spouse meets the following three conditions:
- is age 70 or over
- has lived in the apartment for 10 years or more
- has an income that would qualify them for low-rental housing
Important! It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant to simply do renovations. This is sometimes called “renoviction”. This can be a way to rent the apartment to a new tenant at a much higher rent.
The eviction notice
To request eviction, the landlord must send a written notice to the tenant. This notice must contain:
- the date of the eviction
- the purpose of the eviction (for example, converting the apartment to a commercial space), and
- the article of the Civil code with the rules concerning people over 70
The landlord must respect certain time limits:
Duration of the lease
Deadline for sending the notice
Lease of more than 6 months
At least 6 months before the end of the lease
Lease of 6 months or less
At least 1 month before the end of the lease
Lease of an indeterminate term
At least 6 months before the date of the proposed eviction
The landlord can use the Notice of eviction form provided by the TAL.
At the end of the lease, the landlord must pay the tenant three months of rent as compensation. The landlord must also pay for all reasonable costs involved in the move, such as boxes and truck rental, mail forwarding, transfer of hydro and internet accounts, etc. These costs must be paid once the tenant provides proof of the expenses, such as bills, receipts or contracts.
The tenant’s options
A tenant can accept or refuse the landlord’s request. If the tenant accepts, they simply have to follow the conditions set out in the eviction notice.
If the tenant wishes to contest the eviction, they must file an application with the TAL within a month of receiving the eviction notice. If the tenant does not do this, they are considered to have accepted the eviction request. For more information on procedures at the TAL, see our article Hearings at the Tribunal administratif du logement.
The TAL hearing
At the TAL hearing, the landlord must show they truly intend to subdivide, enlarge or change the use of the unit and that they are permitted to do so by law.
If the TAL grants the eviction, it can also set conditions, for example, granting a certain amount for moving costs or setting a later date for the tenant’s departure.
A tenant can also request a greater compensation than the amount provided by law. They might do so if they believe that amount is inadequate to compensate them for the harm they are suffering due to the eviction.
If the TAL refuses the eviction, the lease continues as usual. If the TAL decision is rendered after the lease renewal date, the lease is automatically renewed. During the month following the decision, the landlord can apply to the TAL to set the rent.
If the eviction goes ahead (or doesn’t)
If the tenant does not oppose the eviction, they must normally leave on the date indicated in the notice. However, the eviction can occur later if the landlord and tenant agree or if the TAL has set a later date.
Whatever procedures may have taken place, if the landlord does not carry out the eviction and the tenant continues to live in the apartment with the landlord’s permission after the date indicated in the eviction notice, the lease is automatically renewed.
Eviction in bad faith
Bad faith means the landlord carried out the eviction for a purpose other than the one stated in the eviction notice or simply to harm a tenant. A tenant might realize a landlord acted in bad faith if they find out, for example, that instead of enlarging the apartment (as stated in the eviction notice), the landlord did not do any work on the apartment and simply sold the building to be converted into condominiums.
If a tenant finds out they were evicted in bad faith, they can sue the landlord for damages at the TAL. A tenant can do this even if they accepted the eviction. They have three years from the time they learned of the bad faith to file an application for damages at the TAL.
The TAL can even order the landlord to pay “punitive damages”. This is an extra sum of money to punish people who have acted in bad faith.