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Particularities of residential subleasing

As with a commercial lease, it is possible for a lessee to sublease his dwelling to a sublessee under a residential lease. The legal framework outlines for the commercial lease, which states that a lessor cannot refuse the sublease without a serious reason, as well as the presence of a legal bond between the lessee and the sublessee, also apply to residential leases.

However, certain specific rules apply when it comes to the lease of a dwelling. For example, subleasing (or lease assignment) is not possible in the following cases:

  • A student who lives in a dwelling owned by an educational institution;1
  • The lessee of a low-income dwelling;2
  • A lessee married or in a civil union in a dwelling that has been declared the family residence, whose spouse refuses the sublease (or lease assignment).3

Where a lessee is eligible, he must apply in writing to the lessor, who has 15 days to respond to the request.

It is important to note that a sublease can be terminated in case of serious injury caused by the sublessee. The lessor could even apply for the termination of the lessee’s lease.

This could be the case, for example, of a lessee who subleases his dwelling without the lessor’s authorization. Jurisprudence has held that such a situation could be considered an unauthorized change in the destination of the immovable.

The sublease is different from the assignment of lease, by which the lessee assigns his rights and obligations under the lease binding him to the owner to a new lessee, thereby definitively releasing himself from his lease.

The Exclusive brokerage contract – Residential sublease (PDF) form is not to be used for the assignment of lease under which the lessee is fully released from his lease by assigning his rights and obligations to the assignee.

See the information sheet entitled Assignment of lease agreement and notice to sublet the dwelling on the website of the Tribunal administratif du logement for more details.

1 Art.1981 C.C.Q
2 Art.1995 C.C.Q.
3 Art. 403 C.C.Q.


Last updated on: September 26, 2023
Reference number: 264766