Article locked Published on by Me Jean-Olivier Reed

Topic(s): Legal

Note aux lecteurs : Ces articles sont des résumés de décisions rendues dans les affaires citées. Veuillez noter qu'il ne s'agit pas d'une revue de la jurisprudence et que d'autres décisions peuvent être rendues par la suite ou être différentes et changer l'état du droit. C'est également le cas si les faits ne sont pas les mêmes que ceux présentés dans l'affaire mentionnée.


Article 1870 of the Civil Code of Quebec allows the tenant, at any time during the lease, to termination the lease. The assignment of a lease allows the tenant to free himself from all the obligations of the lease by "transferring" his lease to another tenant. To do so, he must send a written notice to the owner of his intention with the name and address of the candidate AND obtain the owner's consent to the assignment of lease.

Here are the first tips for dealing with this situation:
1- Take this situation seriously
2- Immediately notify the tenant that everything must be done in writing
3- Make a full verification investigation on the prospective tenant without delay
4- The owner has 15 days from receipt of the notice of the assignment of lease to give an answer
5- Respond in writing to the tenant and notify him of your acceptance or the reasons for your refusal, with certain details while respecting the confidentiality of the information received on the candidate.

The owner's desire to take the unit for himself at the time of the transfer is not a valid reason for refusal either, unfortunately. The only way out at this time is to obtain the written waiver from the candidate and the main tenant to the effect that they are giving up the accommodation, a task which will not be simple.

The refusal of the assignment of lease to carry out renovations is also not considered a valid reason.

In a 2015 case, at this call The Rental Board now the Tribunal Administratif du logement, the owner decided to refuse the assignment of lease because of his intention to completely renovate the home. At the hearing, the tenant claims that his home is in good shape and does not require major work, let alone a complete renovation as claimed by the owner. In the process, the owner did not do any credit investigation on the candidate.

The Court thus decided that the landlord's ground for refusal is not a serious ground required by article 1871 of the Civil Code of Quebec and therefore the Court declared the assignment of lease valid. The candidate has taken possession of the accommodation.

The most serious consequence for the landlord is that he is forced to take a new tenant without having had the chance to do a credit check.

And unfortunately, it will not be possible to do this survey afterwards.

To summarize, the landlord must always take the assignment of lease notices seriously because after 15 days, if you do not respond, you are presumed to have accepted it. Don't be swayed by fine words, stay the course, investigate as much as possible and respond in writing within the deadline.

If a tenant offers to terminate the current lease, consider the possibility and consequences of an assignment of the lease and the flexibility that a lease termination offers, despite the potential monetary losses.

Finally, the assignment of lease does not take a vacation. It is indeed possible to have to manage an assignment of lease during a vacation in Cuba unless you have thought in advance to entrust the management of your building to a trusted third party during the trip.

Thibault v. Placements François Naud Ltée, 2015 CanLII 124124 (QC RDL)


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