Contesting a Decision
The decision by the Régie du logement
Further to an application to the Régie du logement, a hearing was held and you have received a decision. If you are dissatisfied with the tribunal's decision and wish to contest it, there are a number of recourse options available, but the appropriate option depends on the circumstances.
Recourses before the Régie du logement
In reading the decision, you notice a clerical error or an omission, such as an error in calculation, an incorrect date, an aspect of the application on which the tribunal omitted to rule, or a point not included in the application and on which the tribunal ruled. The appropriate recourse is the correction of the decision.
You may have a decision corrected as long as it has not been reviewed or appealed from, or before its execution has begun.
The commissioner may also correct his or her decision ex officio, that is, without a new hearing being necessary. In that case, the corrected decision will be mailed to you. If the decision cannot be corrected ex officio, you must file a motion for correction and pay the related fees.
The fees will be reimbursed to you if the tribunal allows the correction further to the hearing.
You feel that the conclusions reached by the tribunal in its decision might have been different:
- if you had been able to attend the hearing (this supposes that you were prevented from attending);
- if, although you were present at the hearing, you were prevented from supplying evidence by surprise, fraud or any other reason considered sufficient by the tribunal;
- if the tribunal omitted to rule on part of the application or ruled beyond the scope of the application.
In these three situations, you can file an application for revocation with the Régie du logement. A fee will be charged. The application must be submitted within 10 days after you learned of the decision or, as the case may be, within 10 days after you were no longer prevented from attending the hearing or supplying evidence.
Under the rules of procedure, the defendant in an application that gives rise to a contested decision must include, in his or her application for revocation, the grounds for revocation as well as a brief statement of the grounds of defence that you would have put forward at the initial hearing.
- While an application for revocation suspends the execution of a decision, it must not be used in lieu of an appeal (see below).
- The use of revocation in a matter considered improper may result in the issuance of an order prohibiting a party from filing further applications in the same court case, except with the authorization of the chairman or any other person designated by the chairman.
When the decision rendered concerns fixing of the rent, modification of another condition of the lease or review of the rent, a party has one month following the date on which the decision is signed in which to apply to the Régie du logement for a review of the decision. Court costs must be paid.
The application must clearly state the reasons why you are contesting the decision, as the examination could be limited to the questions submitted.
If a deadline cannot be met
When a deadline specified by law is exceeded by the applicant, a commissioner may, for reasonable cause, extend the deadline or release the applicant from his or her failure to comply with it, provided no serious prejudice results for the other party.
Appeal before the Court of Québec
Except in certain specific cases (see Exceptions), decisions rendered by the Régie du logement may be appealed from if leave is granted by a judge of the Court of Québec when the matter in dispute is a matter that should be submitted to that court.
A motion for leave to appeal, along with a notice of presentation, must be served on the adverse party and filed in the office of the Court of Québec within 30 days after the date of the decision. That time limit is imperative and cannot be extended. The motion must state the conclusions sought, and contain a brief statement by the applicant of the grounds he or she intends to rely on. It must be accompanied by a copy of the decision by the Régie du logement, and by the documents of the contestation if they were not reproduced in the decision.
The motion does not suspend the execution of the decision. However, where the decision entails the eviction of the lessee or the occupants, the lessee may apply to the Court of Québec to suspend the execution, provided the lessee shows that he or she would otherwise be caused serious prejudice and that he or she has filed a motion for leave to appeal.
If leave to appeal is granted, the appeal is commenced and the Court will hear only the evidence and representations relative to the matters authorized by the judge and, except where provisional execution is ordered, the appeal suspends the execution of the decision.
Certain decisions rendered by the Régie du logement cannot be appealed from. These include decisions regarding:
- an application that concerns fixing of the rent, modification of another condition of the lease or review of the rent: the recourse option is a review (before the Régie);
- an application the sole object of which is the recovery of a small claim ($15 000 or less);
- the subdivision of a housing complex, conversion to divided co-ownership or the demolition of a dwelling;
- an application for authorization to deposit the rent.
A legal person must go through an attorney to apply for leave to appeal before the Court of Québec. A natural person may entrust the mandate to an attorney or act on his or her own behalf.
When the judge hears the motion, he or she may dismiss it, and the matter ends there. The judge may also allow the motion, in which case the judgment authorizing the appeal serves as an inscription in appeal. The clerk of the Court immediately sends a copy of the judgment to the Régie and all the parties concerned.
If leave to appeal is granted, the parties are summoned again to appear before the Court of Québec to debate the questions specifically authorized in the leave to appeal. The judgment may amend, uphold or quash the Régie's decision but, in all cases, it is final and without appeal.
Please note: In the event of an appeal that is abusive or a delaying tactic, the Court of Québec judge may even order the appellant to pay damages.
N.B.: If, at the hearing before the Régie du logement, you submitted the originals of the exhibits as evidence, you should reclaim them in order to be able to submit them at the hearing before the Court of Québec.
Recourse before the Superior Court
The Régie du logement is subject to the power of judicial review of the Superior Court. Recourse to the Superior Court is exercised by filing an application for judicial review.
This recourse option is subject to complex rules. Accordingly, it is preferable to consult an attorney before exercising it.