Changes in lease forms, proposals from your Association (part 1)

Published on by Association des Propriétaires du Québec

Topic(s): Regulation

Changes in lease forms, proposals from your Association (part 1)
As the Régie du logement shall revise the Regulations on mandatory lease forms and the particulars of a notice to a new lessee, the Quebec Landlords’ Association (APQ) was invited to give its recommendations on changes to the form of tenancy agreement. These changes are intended to take into account among other changes made by Bill 22 which, remember, was mainly focused on the modification of the delay period of notice to terminate the lease from three to two months in exceptional cases addressing this (marital violence, allocation of affordable housing, admission of an elder in a residence where he/she will be offered special care necessary for his/her condition, etc..).
Apart from the fundamental changes following the entry into force of Bill 22 in November 2011, to bring the information up to date, the Quebec Landlords’ Association has also proposed the following:

Solidarity clause
The Association wishes, firstly, to invoke the importance of a solidarity clause stating the tenants’ solidarity regarding lease obligations and it would therefore wish that such a clause be incorporated in the lease form. We know that solidarity cannot be presumed under Section 1525 of the Civil Code of Quebec. One must therefore provide it. If not, each tenant can only assume his/her share of the debt. Most owners ignore this fact, simply believing that, regardless of the number of tenants, the full rent must be paid to them, be it either by one or by the other of the tenants. The APQ believes that it is therefore justified that such a clause is found in the lease. The situation is even more difficult when tenants have vacated the unit while owning sums of money to the owner who must often hire the services of professionals and incur significant costs to trace former tenants. Being able to recover the sums of money from one of two tenants would help reduce his risks of loss.
At the very least, without diminishing the solidarity of the obligations of the lease, there could be a choice to be indicated, not only in the section D. RENT, so as not to add another blur as to whether it is only the payment of the rent that is fixed, but rather the whole of the obligations of the lease. This presence would help to inform landlords and tenants of this possibility.

Smoking in the dwelling or not
Increasingly, we find dwellings that are smoke-free. It would be wise to allow this provision in the terms of the lease, or in the description of the leased premises. The presence of people who smoke inside the dwelling, especially in a non-smoking environment, can greatly inconvenience and make it more difficult for the owner to ensure the peaceful enjoyment of the premises to the other tenants. The presence of this information, by checking the appropriate box, will reduce ambiguity about this, because having no place provided for this purpose, the owners may forget to include this information, even if it is said verbally.

Right of first refusal in case of cession
It is agreed upon that the tenant has the right to sublet or assign his lease under Section 1870 of the Civil Code of Quebec. However, he/she must also notify the owner who will evaluate the situation and who will not be able to refuse the assignee or subtenant presented unless it would be for a serious reason. The situation does not cause too many problems in the case of a sublease, but in the case of an assignment, which acquits the former lessee of his/her obligations, it is agreed upon that the tenant who wants to leave will want to assign to the first come. Sometimes even, the owner is facing a ‘fait accompli’, without having been able to exercise his right of oversight. The Quebec Landlords’ Association would therefore, in order to promote understanding between the parties, want to include a clause granting the right to the owner, on notice of the tenant wanting to vacate the dwelling, to terminate the lease and to resume it rather than that the tenant transfers it to a third party.
The Association believes that this does not affect whatsoever the rights of the tenant because it rather gives an additional option that can even facilitate the departure of the tenant.

Warranty clause
We understand that, in order to allow us to rent to applicants when we cannot qualify yet the financial situation of the prospective tenant, it is useful to use a solvent guarantor. Note that there is no information about this in the lease. However, it may be in the interest of some tenants because such an option allows them to promote access to the housing. When it is decided that a guarantor signs the lease with the consent of both parties it is often overlooked that because of Section 1881 of the Civil Code of Quebec, which stipulates that this warranty does not extend to a renewed lease, this deposit will in most cases cover only a period of one year, while the lease, itself, can be renewed for a long time.
Certain situations have occurred in which the tenant ceases to make payments as soon as the bond is no longer functional. In order to avoid this situation it is possible to sign a bond in a separate document to extend its duration. However, the Quebec Landlords’ Association believes that it is reasonable to guide homeowners and tenants in this process and thus add a section defining the bond, particularly as far as its duration is concerned. The Association proposes a minimum of five years to ensure the obligations of the lease jointly with tenants.

0 Response(s) to “Changes in lease forms, proposals from your Association (part 1) ”

Leave a reply