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Maintaining the dwelling in good condition

According to articles 1910 and 1911 of the Civil Code of Québec, the lessor is bound to deliver a dwelling in good habitable condition and in clean condition. He is also bound to keep it so throughout the term of the lease. He may not offer or deliver a dwelling unfit for habitation.

A dwelling is unfit for habitation if it is in such a condition as to be a serious danger to the health or safety of its occupants or the public, or if it has been declared so by the court or by a competent authority.1

If the dwelling is unfit for habitation, the lessee may:

  1. Refuse to take possession of the dwelling; in such a case, the lease is terminated by operation of law;2
  2. Abandon the dwelling. In this case he is bound to inform the lessor of the condition of the dwelling before abandoning it or within the next 10 days. If he gives such a notice, the lessee is exempt from rent for the period during which the dwelling is unfit for habitation, unless the condition is the result of the lessee’s fault.3

The lessee is bound to notify the lessor, within 10 days of being notified by the lessor that the dwelling is again fit for habitation, as to whether or not he intends to return to the dwelling. Failing such notification, the lease is terminated by operation of law.4

If the dwelling is at risk of becoming unfit for habitation, the lessee may apply to the Tribunal administratif du logement to enjoin the lessor to perform his obligations regarding the condition of the welling.5 In case of dispute in connection with the lease, the Tribunal administratif du logement may, of its own motion, declare the dwelling unfit for habitation. It may then rule on the rent, fix the conditions necessary for the protection of the rights of the lessee, and order that the dwelling be made fit for habitation again.6 If this is the case, you must enter the information on the form Declarations by the seller of the immovable, even if the lessor says that he plans to comply with the order.

The lessee may not, without the consent of the lessor, use or keep in a dwelling a substance which constitutes a risk of fire or explosion and which would lead to an increase in the insurance premiums of the lessor.7 Finally, where a handicapped person significantly limited in his mobility occupies a dwelling, whether or not that person is the lessee, the lessor is bound, at the request of the lessee, to identify the dwelling in accordance with the Act to secure handicapped persons in the exercise of their rights with a view to achieving social, school and workplace integration.8-9

1 Art. 1913 (2) C.C.Q.
2 Art. 1914 C.C.Q.
3 Art. 1915 C.C.Q.
4 Art. 1916 (1) C.C.Q.
5 Art. 1918 C.C.Q.
6 Art. 1917 C.C.Q.
7 Art. 1919 C.C.Q.
8 Art. 1921 C.C.Q.
9 R.S.Q., c. E -20.1.

Last updated on: December 16, 2022
Reference number: 264756