DISPUTES AT THE RENTAL BOARD
Under the Civil Code of Québec, both landlords and tenants have rights and obligations to which they are bound to respect.
While residential leases are widespread, they are often misunderstood, which then leads to a plethora of legal disputes.
It is important to remember that every dispute should be first dealt on an amicable basis as initiating legal proceedings may undermine the relationship between a landlord and tenants. Failing which, a recourse at the Rental Board ought to be initiated either by the landlord or the tenant to seek a resolution of the dispute.
It must also be noted that the relationship between landlords and tenants is one of reciprocity. In other words, a tenant’s rights will correspond to the obligations of a landlord and vice-versa. Therefore, it is recommended to visit both of our webpages regarding the rights and obligations of Landlords and Tenants.
THE RENTAL BOARD
The Rental Board is the competent tribunal for legal disputes between residential landlords and residential tenants.
The Rental Board is created and regulated through the Act respecting the Régie du logement.
A residential lease cannot propose a mechanism of alternate dispute resolution such as arbitration in lieu of the Rental Board.
Please also take note that when the sole object of the application is the recovery of a claim less than $15,000.00, a lawyer cannot represent a party to a dispute before the Rental Board.
If the dispute pertains to any other subject matter such as the resiliation of a lease or a breach of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, a party may choose to be represented by a lawyer.
In fact, the Rental Board is the only forum that can hear the following disputes:
- Disputes regarding residential leases when the amount or value claimed is under $85,000.00; and
- Disputes regarding:
- the renewal or modification of a lease;
- setting the rent;
- Repossession of a dwelling;
- A change of use; and
- Forced evictions.
In these circumstances, the Rental Boards will have exclusive jurisdiction no matter the amount of money involved in the dispute.
The Rental Board is also mandated to help with:
- Informing landlords and tenants regarding their rights and obligations;
- Explaining the content of a lease or the Act respecting the Régie du logement;
- Provide standard form for leases, end of lease, and subletting; and
- Helping tenants and landlord reach an agreement vis-à-vis their dispute.
If you wish to contest a Rental Board’s decision, please note that it is possible to apply for a number of different recourses such as correction, revocation, review, or an appeal of the judgment to the Court of Quebec. However, the appropriate recourse will depend on the circumstances of each case and the reasoning behind the grounds for contestation.
For more information, you can consult the Rental Board website at the following link: www.rdl.gouv.qc.ca
STEP 1: CONSULT A LAWYER
Before initiating legal proceedings, it is recommended that you seek legal advice in order to inform yourself as to your rights and obligations. A legal dispute will often be more complex than initially anticipated, thus the need for guidance and help in resolving your dispute.
Therefore, a lawyer specialized in real estate matters should fulfill the role of helping you determine all possible options tailored to your specific needs in an environment dictated by delays and complex procedures which may feel overwhelming at first sight.
STEP 2: LETTER OF DEMAND
The first mandatory step prior to the institution of legal proceedings is to send a letter of demand without delay to put the other party in default, and to set a firm but reasonable timeline to which the other party can remedy the situation. It is only if the other party fails to remedy said default in due time that legal proceedings may be instituted and heard at the Rental Board.
The absence of a formal letter of demand putting the other party in default will be fatal to one’s proceeding at the Rental Board. It is therefore of paramount importance to send a letter of demand to the other party to the dispute in order to succeed in one’s recourse at the Rental Board.
CLICK HERE IF YOU ARE A TENANT
CLICK HERE IF YOU ARE A LANDLORD
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The above noted text should not be construed as providing legal advice or a statement of your claim. The process highlighted above are merely parameters and barometers and do not constitute any warranties and guaranties with regards to your file at hand. We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice with a licensed attorney from the Barreau du Quebec or a notary at the Chambre des Notaires. Each case must be seen and analysed on its merits as the legal process may be complex and cumbersome.