Changes in lease forms, proposals from your Association (part 2)

Published on by Association des Propriétaires du Québec

Topic(s): Regulation

Changes in lease forms, proposals from your Association (part 2)
Follow : 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:

Terminating the lease
In Section C of the lease it is stated as follows: Whether the lease be either of fixed or indeterminate duration, the owner may not terminate it (except as provided by law). That's all right, but, on the other hand, why is this statement only intended for the owners? It would be important to specify that the tenants, neither, can terminate this contract, except in some very specific cases, in order not to minimize their obligations of tenants under the lease.
It is important to keep in mind, by discounting the lease with the entry into force of Bill 22, that cases of termination by the tenant remain exceptional and should be used only in case of necessity. It is also important that tenants be informed that it is not possible for them to unload their lease upon notice of three months for no reason. The law aims to protect certain vulnerable people who must leave due to very specific situations and often for safety reasons, but not to allow parties to evade their obligations.
In addition, the APQ believes that certain sections of the Civil Code of Quebec, including the changes that occurred in November 2011, would gain more if yet to be clarified with examples given in the lease on the applicability of this section of the Act, particularly in the explanatory notes contained at the back of the lease form. By updating the lease form the APQ believes that the Régie du logement will do what is needed to enter the appropriate information in the notice that the owner is entitled to receive as well as the evidence on which he must rely, and that, in order to avoid conflicts.

The tenant sometimes also decides to evade his/her obligations in relation to electricity. There is thus transfer of the account of the tenant to the landlord in these cases. The owners do not really have another choice than to accept the transfer, otherwise they would be allocated costs to reconnect later, or they may even risk breakage in their building in cold weather. The APQ thinks therefore that a clause should be added to the lease in section E. Services and conditions, in order to raise awareness about the tenant's obligations in this regard, for example:
The tenant agrees to directly pay fees related to electricity distribution services, heating and/or hot water supplied by Hydro-Québec, Hydro-Sherbrooke or , according to what he is responsible for under this lease. Consequently, the tenant cannot avoid his/her obligation, it is the irrevocable responsibility of the tenant until the end of the lease or any renewals thereof.

Date of birth and email address
The APQ believes that it is important to indicate the date of birth of the tenants in the lease form. In fact, the date of birth is an asset to identify a tenant and therefore avoid the risk of fraud and identity theft. The fact of not having this information hampers the transparency required to have good information about a potential tenant.
In the computer age, the APQ considers that the email address is an additional tool, useful in case of an emergency to contact tenants, for example in case of emergency works.
Selection of residency clause
It has already been mentioned that it sometimes happens that tenants leave during the lease without giving an address and while still having debts to their owner. The current system requires the owners to hire professionals and incur significant costs to trace their tenants. Many will withdraw before this obstacle and tenants will get away with it without having to live up to their obligations. The Quebec Landlords’ Association suggests the inclusion of a clause electing residency at the address of the place rented. This clause would provide that, in the event of a change of address, the tenant must notify the landlord, without which any notice or forwarding hereunder shall be validly made at the Registry of the Superior Court of the district in which the leased premises are located, where the tenant takes up residence for the purposes of this lease and for any notice or proceedings arising from this.

In conclusion
The APQ has taken the opportunity to briefly submit other points on housing that would have to be revisited. Firstly, our system of rent setting is obsolete and, in particular, it provides insufficient amounts of money for major works. The current method gives yields well below what is required to allow the owner to renovate while remaining profitable. Not to mention that with the entry into force of Bill 122 to upgrade safety standards as well as regulations relating thereto which is in the process of adoption, additional expenses will be made in order to comply with this regulation increase in matters of building maintenance. It will be yet an additional financial burden for homeowners. The APQ believes that owners should be able to account for these costs in the calculation of their rents. One must therefore review the calculation methods to set the rent.
Also, Quebec is the only Province in Canada where a warranty deposit is not legal. Let us remind ourselves that a deposit would have the effect of increasing the awareness among tenants concerning the damage they sometimes cause to the accommodation.

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