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SIGNING A LEASE WITH A PRIVATE RESIDENCE

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IMPORTANT
The contents of this leaflet are for information purposes only and do not replace the legislation.

The staff at the Régie du logement can inform you of the recourse available to you for contesting a decision, the applicable procedure before the Régie and the deadlines involved. However, our staff cannot inform you of the procedures applicable before the other tribunals. If you need assistance, contact an attorney or notary.

Signing a Lease With a Private Residence - A Guide for Seniors and Owners

Private Residences

Private seniors’ residences are a kind of housing for self-sufficient and semi-self-sufficient seniors. The services they offer depend on the needs of the people who live there.

These residences are privately owned and operated. They must respect many standards and rules created by the government. When they meet these legal requirements, they receive a certificate of compliance. The certificate allows the owners to operate a residence for seniors.

If they have an issue about a lease, seniors and owners can contact a specialized court called the Régie du logement (rental board) to learn about their rights and obligations. They can also ask the Régie to settle their disagreements.

Public Health and Social Services Network

Private seniors’ residences are different from institutions in the public health and social services network, such as residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs). Private residences are also different from housing facilities that have contracts with these institutions, such as “intermediate” and “family-type” housing facilities.

These institutions and facilities must follow different rules, and the Régie du logement has no control over them.

This brochure does not cover the rules that apply to public institutions and facilities.

Ending Your Lease

A lease is a contract that lets a person rent a place to live. The person renting is called the lessee or tenant. The place rented is called a dwelling. A lease can be for a house, an apartment or a room. The person who offers the dwelling forrent is called the lessor or owner.

As with other contracts, you cannot end a lease any way you want. Seniors who are tenants must end their current leases before signing a new one with a private residence.

The law says that, in some situations, an owner cannot object when a senior wants to end a lease:

  1. The senior is given a dwelling in low-rent housing or an equivalent dwelling.
  2. The senior’s safety or the safety of a child living with the senior is in danger.
  3. A handicap prevents the senior from staying in the dwelling.
  4. The senior must leave the dwelling for health reasons.

Moving for Health Reasons

Seniors moving to a residence with nursing care or personal assistance services needed for health reasons can end a lease at any time. This is true whether the senior is going into a private residence for the first time or moving to a different residence. Seniors can also end a lease if they are moving to any other facility that offers these services, no matter what it is called.

A senior must send all of these documents to the owner:

  • a written notice telling the owner that the senior is leaving and ending the lease
  • confirmation from the appropriate authority proving that the senior has been admitted to the residence
  • a certificate from an authorized person confirming that the senior meets the conditions for admission. The authorized person must be a health and social services professional, such as a doctor, nurse or social worker who works in a CLSC, CHSLD, hospital or private office.

The documents must be sent to the owner within these deadlines:
Length of Lease Senior Wants to End Deadline for Sending Documents
12 months or more 2 months before leaving
less than 12 months 1 month before leaving
no set length 1 month before leaving

Signing a Lease With a Private Residence

Once all the documents have been sent to end the old lease, the senior must sign a new lease with the private residence. The residence must use the official lease form provided by the Régie du logement. Seniors who go to a private residence after leaving a house or condo they owned must also sign a lease using this form.

Both the senior and the owner have obligations under the new lease:
Obligations of the Residence Owner Obligations of the Senior
Provide services of good quality that are in keeping with laws and regulations. Pay the rent.
Provide a dwelling in good condition. Keep the dwelling clean.
Maintain and repair the dwelling. Notify the owner about any defects or serious deterioration.
Do not change the dwelling. Return the dwelling in the condition it was received.
Ensure the tenant has peaceful enjoyment of the dwelling. Do not disturb the other tenants.

Services Offered

The services offered by a private residence must listed in a standard form attached to the lease. This form is called a schedule.

In the schedule, the owner must also state the individual cost of each service of a personal nature that the tenant receives. For example, these might include the following:

  • meals
  • help getting around, dressing, eating and bathing
  • help with medications
  • nursing care
  • any other type of care or personal assistance service defined by the Act respecting health services and social services or regulations under that law

When a senior dies or sends a written notice to the owner to end the lease, only those services of a personal nature actually received by the senior must be paid.

Nursing care, services of a personal nature and personal assistance services can be used on a temporary or permanent basis depending on the tenant’s needs and whether the tenant requests them.

Modifications to the Lease

When a lease is about to end, the owner can ask to modify parts of it when it is renewed. These modifications could include the cost of the services provided, the length of the lease or the amount of rent.

The owner must send the tenant a written notice of the modifications within these deadlines:
Length of Lease That Is Ending  Deadline for Sending Notice of Modifications
12 months or more 3 to 6 months before end of lease
less than 12 months 1 to 2 months before end of lease
no set length 1 to 2 months before requested modification
lease for a room (any length) 10 to 20 days before end of lease or requested modification

A tenant who receives a notice has one month to choose one of the options listed below and notify the owner of this choice:

  1. The tenant accepts the modifications requested and wants to renew the lease.
  2. The tenant refuses in writing the modifications requested but still wants to renew the lease.

    Once the tenant notifies the owner of this refusal, the owner has one month to ask the Régie du logement to fix the rent or modify the lease. If the owner does not ask the Régie to do this, the lease will be renewed without the modifications.

  3. The tenant plans to leave and does not want to renew the lease. The tenant must notify the owner of this choice in writing.

all situations, if the tenant does not reply to the notice of modification within one month, the lease is renewed automatically with the modifications the owner requested.

The Régie du logement can’t fix the rent or modify the lease for a dwelling in a building that is less than five years old, as long as the lease mentions this restriction. For these dwellings, a tenant who does not agree to the modifications must leave.

Ending a Lease With a Private Residence

A tenant who plans to leave a private residence must send a written notice of non-renewal to the owner before the end of the lease. The notice must be sent within the same deadlines that apply to the notice of modification from the owner. (See the table in the Modifications to the Lease section.)

But if the tenant received a notice of modification from the owner, the tenant simply has to notify the owner in writing that he or she doesn’t want to renew the lease. (See choice No. 3 above.)

Death of the Tenant

The lease can be ended when a tenant dies.

  • If the tenant lived alone, the liquidator of the succession or an heir has six months after the tenant’s death to send a written notice to the owner. The lease ends two months after the notice is sent.
  • If the tenant lived with someone, this person can become the new tenant and continue to live in the dwelling by sending a written notice to the owner within two months of the original tenant’s death.

If the person who lived with the original tenant does not notify the owner within this two-month period, the liquidator or an heir can end the lease. They must send a written notice to the owner within one month following expiry of the two month period. The lease will then end one month after this notice is sent. The person who lived with the original tenant must leave the dwelling during the month after the notice is sent.

Respecting the Deadlinefor Ending a Lease

If a tenant does not respect the deadline for ending a lease, the owner can ask the tenant to pay compensation for the harm the landlord suffers.

But if someone else rents the dwelling after the tenant leaves, the tenant only has to pay the rent for the time when nobody was living there.

The tenant can always try to reach an agreement with the owner to end a lease early.

Closing of a Residence and Problems Affecting Residents’ Health and Safety

In the situations described below, specific rules ensure that services continue in the residence until it closes. Seniors can also count on help finding a new place to live. Also, special rules apply to ending their leases.

When there is danger to the health and safety of the residents:

  • The relevant health and social services agency can evacuate and relocate the residents.
  • The evacuated residents do not have to pay rent during the evacuation period.
  • The residents can end their leases.

When a private seniors’ residence closes:

  • Certification is Revoked or Refused
    • A tenant can end a lease by giving a written notice of at least 15 days. This notice must be sent within 60 days of the residence closure.
  • Decision by Operator to Close
    • The operator must give the health and social services agency a notice six months before closing. If the operator does not give this notice, any notices given to tenants under the Civil Code of Québec rules on leases of dwellings are not valid.

Don’t hesitate to contact the Régie du logement or the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (ministry of health and social services) to learn more about your rights in these situations.

Useful Resources

Régie du logement (rental board)

Telephone:

Montreal, Laval and Longueuil:
514-873-2245

In other areas:
1-800-683-2245

Website of the Régie du logement:
www.rdl.gouv.qc.ca
This website has a list of the 26 regional offices you can meet with an information agent.

Other Resources

Website of the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux:
www.msss.gouv.qc.ca
Among other things, this site has a link to the Registre des résidences privées pour aînés (register of private seniors’ residences) listing residences with certificates of compliance. Look in the “Resources” section under “Directories”.

Seniors can also file a complaint about

  • the respect of their rights as health service user, or
  • the quality of services they received

by contacting the Regional Service Quality and Complaints Commissioner for the area.

To get contact information for the Commissioner, call Services Québec: 1-877-644-4545.

 

In case of differences between this document and the laws that apply to dwellings, the laws take priority.

The Régie du logement is under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy.