Can You Use Recordings of Your Private Conversations as Evidence? 

Understanding the Law

If you record your private conversation with someone, using your phone or some other device, you can’t always use these recordings as evidence in court. The court will decide whether the recording is relevant on a case-by-case basis. That being said, there are certain things you can prove with a recording. Here are three examples from cases that went to the Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL or rental board).  

Proving the amount of promised compensation 

In a 2019 case, the landlord asked a tenant to move out so that they could do work in the building. In a conversation recorded by the tenant, the landlord promised them financial compensation. The recording was proof of the verbal agreement between the tenant and the landlord, which was just as binding as a written and signed contract. But when it came time to pay the compensation, the tenant and the landlord no longer agreed on the amount.  

The TAL accepted the recording as evidence. The court was able to clearly hear each person’s voice and the amount of compensation that the landlord promised the tenant to leave the apartment. The tenant won the case. 

Did you know? Many everyday situations lead us to enter into contracts. Sometimes we don’t even realize it!

Proving entry without permission 

In another case the same year, the landlords took a tenant to court. They claimed that the tenant illegally withheld rent to pay for a plumber. For their part, the tenant asked for financial compensation and a rent reduction. 

The tenant said they couldn’t fully enjoy the apartment because of problems with the plumbing, no hot water, and mold on the walls. What’s more, the tenant recorded a conversation in which the landlord admitted to the tenant that they came into the apartment without permission to check the drains. The tenant also had text messages to support their claims. The TAL decided in the tenant’s favour because it could verify that the recording was authentic. 

A sagging ceiling, toxic mold, or no running water… Depending on how poor your housing conditions are, you have different recourses as a tenant.

Proving threats and illegal repossession 

In a 2017 case, the landlord said they wanted to repossess the tenant’s apartment for their daughter to live in. But the tenant saw it as an excuse to evict them after they complained about water damage. The tenant recorded many of their conversations with the landlord. 

In the end, the court sided with the tenant who, thanks to those recordings, was able to prove that their landlord was impatient, threatened them, and showed a desire to evict them illegally. 

Do you want to understand what’s involved in repossessing rental housing? Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, read our article about repossession to learn about the rules.