Access to the Dwelling and Visiting Rights
When a dwelling is up for rent or when a residential building is for sale, both the landlord and tenant concerned have to abide by a certain number of rules about visiting the premises. These rules are logical and based on common sense and the most elementary principles of courtesy.
Even during the course of the lease, the landlord may need to enter the tenant’s dwelling. Rules provide for these situations and determine the way for these visits to be made in order to maintain good relations between the parties.
Dwelling for rent
You are a landlord. Your tenant has given you written notice that he will move out at the end of the lease. Or he has given you 2 months’ notice, accompanied by an attestation from the authorities concerned, indicating that he is cancelling the lease for one of the following motives specified by the law:
- he has been allocated a dwelling in a low-rental housing unit;
- he can no longer occupy his dwelling because of a handicap;
- in the case of a senior, if he is permanently admitted to a residential and long-term care centre or a private seniors' residence;
- his safety or the one of a child living with him is threatened because of the violent behaviour of a spouse or former spouse or because of a sexual aggression.
When and how can you arrange visits to the dwelling for rent?
As soon as you have received your tenant’s notice, you may post a sign “For Rent” and you have the right to visit the dwelling.
The tenant cannot refuse access to the dwelling. The landlord must act in a reasonable fashion, and respect the tenant’s privacy and free enjoyment of the dwelling, as well as the inviolability of the tenant’s home. It is desirable that the landlord and the tenant come to an agreement on the conditions for visiting the dwelling.
Visits must take place between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. and the tenant may demand that you or your representative be present. Otherwise, the tenant has the right to refuse you access to the dwelling.
During the course of the lease
You may need to get in the tenant’s dwelling during the course of the lease: it is then compulsory to give a 24-hour notice (verbal or written). You have the right to verify the condition of the dwelling but you must exercise your right with judgment.
The same rule applies if you must undertake repairs in the tenant’s dwelling. In the case of a condo, the notice may be given by the syndicate. Should the repairs prove to be urgent and necessary (e.g. a major plumbing leak or sparks in the electric distribution panel), you may have hem done immediately without having to notify the tenant.
Changing the locks or adding a device restricting access to the dwelling can cause grave prejudice to one of the parties. Neither the landlord nor the tenant have the right to change the locks on the doors of the dwelling, or to add other locks, without the consent of the other party, nor prevent access to the dwelling in situations covered by the law.
When you put up a building for sale, your obligations are essentially the same as those which apply to renting.
However, you must give the tenant a 24-hour notice (verbal or written) each time you wish the dwelling to be visited by a potential buyer. This is compulsory. And the visits must take place between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. On the other hand, the tenant can demand that you or your representative accompany the buyer during the visit.
Except in cases of emergency, the visit of the dwelling must take place between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Repairs must be done between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The owner may inspect a dwelling or have work done in it. He may sell the building or put a dwelling up for rent if its lease has not been renewed or has been cancelled by the tenant for reasons previously discussed. For this, he must have access to it.
On his part, the tenant has the right to his privacy. It is therefore in your mutual interest to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to both of you.
In cases of serious conflict or improper conduct by either the tenant or the landlord, the Régie has the power to order access to the dwelling or impose the conditions of access.