How to Evict a Tenant in Quebec for Late Rent Payments or Non-Payment of Rent
There are a few different situations where the landlords are allowed to evict a tenant in Quebec legally. This article will focus on the scenario where the tenant does not pay the rent or frequently fails to pay the rent on time.
You rented your investment property to a new tenant. They settled in but after a few months or even years and they turned out to be your worst nightmare. At the time, covering your expenses and making a profit in the short run was your primary goal. You focused on signing a lease quickly and you did not put enough time and effort in the tenant screening process. Now that they moved in but they do not pay the rent. You realize you should have paid more attention to who you selected to live in your property. Read more about how to avoid a bad tenant.
Late rent payments
If otherwise stipulated on the lease, rent is to be paid on the first day of each month. Rent is considered late if it is not paid by the day it is due.
The landlord has the right to terminate the tenant’s lease or to start the process to evict a tenant in Quebec if the tenant is over 21 days late in paying their rent, or if he suffers serious prejudice as a direct result, where the tenant is frequently late in paying their rent (article 1971 Civil Code of Quebec)
A tenant can avoid being evicted, even after receiving a notice of termination of lease, simply by paying the total amount of rent they owe, as well as interest at the rate fixed in accordance with section 28 of the Tax Administration Act (R.s.Q.., Chapter A-6.002) or at any other lower rate, agreed with the landlord (article 1883 Civil Code of Quebec).
Unfortunately, as much as you wish you could, you cannot order or force a bad tenant to vacate your property.
The first step in trying to resolve your problem in getting an undesired tenant out of your unit is to kindly ask them. This very rarely works. You can hire a property manager to help you with this process, read more. Your next step is to file for eviction at the Regie du Logement, the rental board in Quebec.
Caution: Evicting a tenant in Quebec can be an emotional roller coaster for landlords, even for the experienced ones. Refrain from doing the following:
- Block access to the property by changing the locks;
- Threaten the tenant physically or in any other way;
- Remove any of the tenant’s objects from the property;
- Cut power or heating in the tenant’s unit;
- Fail to do your obligations as a landlord;
- Enter the unit illegally or without proper notice.
Taking any of the above-mentioned actions can either nullify your request to evict a tenant, delay the proceedings or put you in legal trouble.
Documentation is very critical throughout the eviction process. If you are attempting to rectify a situation with the tenant, keep a record of your communications on the subject. Whether they are texts, emails, social media exchanges, registered mail or even a letter you slipped under the door, keep a record of all those exchanges. In instances where you spoke to the tenant by phone or in person, recap the conversation in writing and send it to them.
Documenting creates a clear record that you attempted to correct the situation but that the tenant kept failing on his or her end.
Filing at Regie du Logement
To start the process of evicting a tenant in Quebec. the landlord must fill out an application form and together with a filing fee ($78), submit it to the office. You can also file online. The online application is in French only. Here is the link to the online application form. https://www.rdl.gouv.qc.ca/en/your-application-online/filing-an-application-to-the-tribunal
Once the application has been filed, Regie du Logement will set a date for the hearing. (Usually within 30-45 days)
Informing the Tenant about Application and Hearing
At this point, the landlord, using the application form provided by Regie du Logement, must give the tenant notice of the hearing. To confirm that the tenant was given notice, landlords are required to use to the following methods:
- by registered mail;
- by any other means allowing to obtain a valid proof of receipt
Since January 1, 1999, there are three methods to prove the other party received a copy of the application:
On Canada Post website, you will obtain a confirmation of the sending and delivery dates.
By telephone request at Canada Post (1 800 267-1155 or 1 888 550-6333), you will obtain, by fax, a confirmation of the sending and delivery dates.
It is important to note that these means are free, but they will not show the name of the person who signed for the reception. Therefore, if at the hearing the proof of the reception is contested, the commissioner may require the proof of it by the signature confirmation.
- Signature confirmation
If the signature of the person who signed for the reception is required, you can call Canada Post to obtain a photocopy of the register entry showing the signature and date of receipt of the mailed application. This information will be sent to you as COD (Collect on Delivery).
The bailiff’s affidavit of service constitutes proof that it was received.
If the application is notified by hand, the confirmation of receipt signed by the addressee, or the testimony of someone who was present when the copy was received by the addressee, may constitute proof that it was received.
The applicant may also use any other methods that will allow him to prove that the application was received.
However, regardless of the method used, if the commissioner is not satisfied with the proof presented at the hearing by the applicant to the effect that the other party received a copy of the application, he may request that the proof be completed or order that it be notified again.
If the applicant is unsuccessful in notifying an application by any of these methods (e.g., the application is sent back to him or her by return mail), a commissioner may at any time and upon request authorize another method to notify it. If this occurs, you should contact one of the Régie’s offices immediately.
Cost of notification
If the applicant wants the defendant to be condemned to reimburse the costs of notifying the application, he must give to the commissioner the receipt from Canada Post or the bill of the bailiff to prove he paid those costs. However, the commissioner has the discretion to grant those costs or not.
Caution: Some of the judges may accept an email to the tenant as proof of receipt, while some others won’t. Unfortunately there is no consistency among judges in terms of accepting emails as proof of receipt or not.
Attending the Hearing
At the hearing, the landlord and tenant, or their representatives, will have an opportunity to give their evidence. Regie du Logement will then decide within 2-3 weeks.
You should bring a copy of the lease and the proof that the notice was given to the tenant. Without these documents, the judge will not proceed.
If, for a serious reason, you are unable to attend the hearing, you may mandate someone else to represent you.
Who may represent you?
A lawyer, your spouse, a relative, an in-law (e.g., brother-in-law or sister-in-law) or, if need be, a friend.
A corporation or cooperative may be represented by an officer, a director, an employee exclusively employed by it, or a lawyer.
If the application only concerns a claim of $15,000 or less, a lawyer cannot represent you.
How do you give a mandate?
Unless you are represented by a lawyer or your spouse, the mandate must be in writing, signed by you, and must indicate the reasons for your absence. The person to whom you give the mandate must agree to represent you without being paid to do so.
Except for lawyers, the mandatary of a corporation or cooperative must be authorized to act by a resolution of the Board of Directors.
Role of the mandatary: At the hearing, your mandatary acts in your name. He or she must have first-hand knowledge of the facts or, barring that, be in a position to prove the facts through witnesses or otherwise, as you would have done.
Agreement before hearing
If, before the hearing takes place, you reach an agreement with the tenant, the Régie will close the case upon the filing of a copy of the agreement signed by the parties. However, should the applicant require it in writing, the case will be suspended. Thereafter, the case will only be placed on the roll upon the written request of one of the parties.
Proof to present at the hearing
In all cases, you must submit:
- proof that the application and amendments have been notified, if applicable (for the applicant);
- the lease and subsequent notices of modification;
- the mandate, if any.
Depending on the nature of the application, you may need the following additional proof:
When you send documents to the other party, you must keep the proof that they were sent and received and you must provide the following at the hearing.
- notices required by law (e.g., Notice of rent increase and modification of another condition of the lease, Notice of repossession);
- the formal notice;
- the new tenant’s lease after, for example, the former tenant abandoned the premises:
- proof of advertising (newspaper clippings and corresponding invoices);
- invoices and proof of payment;
- all other useful documents.
Execution of Eviction Order
If the eviction is granted by Regie du Logement, an Eviction Order will be issued. This is the tenant’s final chance. If he or she pays up, the process ends and the tenant gets to keep living in the property.
Otherwise, the tenant must move out within the indicated time frame. The order will state when the tenant must vacate the premises. Tenants may vacate the property on their own at this point. However, tenants may decide not to leave. Generally, if the tenant does not leave by the date specified in the order, the landlord will need to hire a bailiff in order to evict the tenant. A landlord cannot evict a tenant in Quebec or change the locks without the bailiff being present.
Hiring a bailiff would cost anywhere between $500-$1600 which depends on the fact that they have to hire a mover to move out tenant’s furniture and belongings or not.
A Final Inspection
After the tenant moves out, do a thorough inspection of the property Are there any damages caused by the trouble tenant? Take pictures of the damages and document them.
Depending on the severity of the damages (if any at all), you have the option of seeking reparations or compensation from the tenant via Regie du Logement.
Your next step is to find another tenant and do a thorough screening before signing a lease.
Evicting a tenant in Quebec is a long and costly process. You need to be well prepared, well informed and show up in courts to successfully evict a problematic tenant. It would be much wiser to spend more time and put more effort in the tenant screening process to be able to avoid the time-consuming and sometimes expensive eviction process.