Renting without a lease

Article locked Published on by Martin A Messier

Topic(s): Word of the editor

Renting without a lease

Many landlords feel that they have an advantage in handing over the keys to the dwelling and verbally agreeing on the amount of the rent without giving a written lease to the tenant.

Regularly the owners tell me that they proceeded in this way because they did not trust the tenant. By doing so, the owner mistakenly believes that he is protected. Many landlords believe that by not giving a lease they can simply decide to end the tenancy by telling tenants that they must leave the dwelling.

By doing so, the owner instead creates a lease of indefinite duration whose conditions will be difficult to prove.

The provisions of the Civil Code of Québec are clear: Whether your agreement is verbal or not, your tenant has the same rights. The right to remain in the premises is thus guaranteed to the tenant.

This type of lease is normally much more advantageous for the tenant. In addition to the difficulties related to the proof of the elements that you may have negotiated during the conclusion of this verbal lease, you will have to accept the fact that your tenant can terminate the lease by a notice of one month, and so he may leave you with the housing free at inopportune times such as January 1st...

Moreover, the law provides that you must give your tenant a writing containing the name and address of the landlord as well as those of the tenant, the amount of the rent and the address of the rented dwelling while giving the information prescribed by the regulations of the government, namely the mandatory lease in Québec.

In a written lease you have the possibility to determine a longer duration, often 12 months and you also have the possibility to enter conditions. (No smoking, no pets, details of responsibilities for renting the water heater, snow removal, access to the court yard, etc.)

We are available to answer your questions, particularly those relating to the drafting of the written lease.

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