Rental Housing: Landlords Cannot Require Security Deposits

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According to several recent news reports, some landlords believe it is legal to require a new tenant to pay a security deposit. In response, the Régie du logement (rental board) issued a statement clarifying that this is illegal.

Illegal to require deposits

The Civil Code of Quebec provides that a landlord cannot ask for any payment other than the rent. This means that they cannot, for example, require a new tenant to pay “key money” or to deposit money as “security” for any possible future damage to the apartment.

However, a landlord can require that a new tenant pay the first month’s rent in advance.

Deposits legal only if voluntary

A number of court decisions have clarified that a security deposit is only legal if it is offered freely and voluntarily by a tenant. However, it will be illegal if circumstances show that the tenant gave it, for example, due to fear of not getting the apartment if they did not provide a deposit.

To learn more about the rules regarding rent payments see our article on Paying the Rent.