Tenants normally have the right to stay in their apartment so long as they meet their obligations. This is known as the “right to remain”. However, as a landlord, you can terminate the lease and ask tenant to leave in certain situations.
Terminating the lease with the tenant’s agreement
You and the tenant can agree to change or end the lease at any time. The agreement can be oral. However, it’s best to write it down and sign it so that you have a record of your agreement.
Both the landlord and the tenant must give their informed consent to terminate freely. This means that neither party was forced to sign and had full knowledge of the facts. For example, the tenant must know about their right to remain in the premises and understand the possible consequences of the agreement.
You may have deadlines for applying to the Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL or rental board) to have the tenant’s lease terminated. When negotiating, be careful to pay attention to any deadlines that must be met.
For more information, see our article on filing an application to the TAL.
Terminate the lease with the TAL’s permission
Tenants have obligations when they rent an apartment. Tenants will be in breach of their obligations if they:
- don’t pay their rent for more than 3 weeks
- pay their rent late often
- do not respect the lease or the rules of the building. For example, getting a dog when it’s forbidden, if the tenant endangers the safety or health of other tenants, or if the dwelling becomes unfit for habitation because of the tenant
- disturb the other tenants in the building.
If the tenant is not meeting one or more of their obligations, you can discuss the situation with them to find common ground.
You can also send a letter to the tenant saying that they are not meeting some of their obligations and warning them that you will ask the TAL to terminate the lease if they continue to do so. This letter is called a ‘demand letter‘.
If the tenant continues to fail to meet their obligations, you can ask the TAL to terminate the lease. You will need to show that the tenant is causing you to suffer serious harm. Serious harm will depend on the circumstances, such as the number of mistakes the tenant has made, how serious they are, and how they affect you, your building, or your finances.
In its decision, the TAL may:
- terminate the lease and order the tenant to leave the apartment
- order the tenant to comply with his obligations without terminating the lease
- order the tenant to comply with his obligations within a certain period. In this case, the tenant has a ‘last chance’ to do the right thing. If the tenant continues to breach their obligations despite the decision, you can apply again to have the TAL terminate the lease.
Please note! You do not have to prove serious harm if you ask the TAL to terminate the lease because the tenant has not paid the rent for more than 3 weeks.
Repossession for yourself or a relative
Repossession allows you to take over the home to:
- live in it yourself
- house your children or parents
- house any other relative or members of your family by marriage for whom you are the main breadwinner, for example your mother-in-law or son-in-law
- housing your spouse from whom you are separated or divorced, but for whom you remain the main breadwinner.
You may not have the right to repossess the property in some cases, even if your reason is valid. For example, if there are two landlords or if the tenant is over 70 years old and meets certain criteria.
To find out what steps you need to take to repossess a home, see our article on repossession.
Evicting the tenant for a particular project
The term “renoviction” is often used but does not exist in the law. There are a limited number of ways to legally evict a tenant, which typically involve certain projects.
As a landlord, you can evict a tenant for one of the following projects:
- subdividing the unit (e.g. turning an 8-room unit into 2 four-room units)
- demolishing the dwelling (e.g. converting a duplex into a single-family house)
- significantly extending the dwelling (e.g. adding a room to the dwelling)
- changing the use of the dwelling (e.g. converting a dwelling into a commercial office)
For more information, see our article on eviction of the tenant.
Temporarily relocating the tenant during major work
You cannot evict a tenant for a project other than subdividing, demolishing, substantially enlarging or changing the use of the unit, unless the tenant agrees to terminate the lease.
If you do major work, you may have to temporarily relocate the tenant. In this case, you will also have to allow them to return to the property when the work is finished under the same lease conditions.