From Tenant to Owner - What about my lease?

(This article applies to Quebec residential leases falling under the Regie du Logement's scope)

You've finally reached a decision - this year, you're buying!  You give your landlord a three month notice on January 1st for your lease ending July 1st and plan to move into your new home on the 1st of April.  Everything has been taken care of, right?

Well, no.  Contrary to popular belief, a tenant cannot terminate a lease before the end of its term by giving the landlord a three month notice. The residential lease is a binding contract, mutually signed by all consenting parties and must be respected.

Also, the length of a residential lease bears some importance in regards to its non-renewal delays.  Very important to heed if you do not want to end up paying a mortgage and rent at once!

So what needs to be done???

First, you can always attempt to come to an amicable agreement with the landlord in order to cancel the leasing agreement, preferably in writing.  If however, the landlord refuses to terminate the lease, you still have two remaining options:  subletting or assignment.  

What's the difference?

When you sublet an apartment, you remain liable for the lease.  If the sub-lessee ever defaults on the monthly payments, you will be held responsible for the missing rent.  With a lease assignment, all of your responsibilities and commitments are transferred to the new tenant who then assumes all obligations under the remaining term of the lease.

In both cases, you'll need to find a new person to inhabit the dwelling.  Once you've found a suitable sub-lessee or assignee, you must sign an agreement immediately, conditional upon the landlord granting consent.  Afterwards, a written notice must be sent to the landlord (preferably by mail where a signature is required to prove the date on which it was received) containing the name and address of the interested person.

Once the landlord has received this notice, he has 15 days to send you an acceptance or refusal, so it is highly recommended that you carefully examine your candidate's references prior to sending the notice!  Please note that the landlord also has the right to be reimbursed for all fees disbursed in order to validate the new tenant.

If you do not receive an answer, the notice is presumed to be accepted.  However, if you receive a refusal from the landlord, he must advise you in writing providing an explanation.  These reasons must be serious.

If you believe you have been victim of prejudice, you can contact the Régie du Logement so that it may determine whether the landlord's refusal is unjustified and perhaps declare the sublet or the assignment valid.

Should you need further information on this subject, I highly recommend that you visit the Regie du Logement's website at http://www.rdl.gouv.qc.ca/en/accueil/accueil.asp.  You'll gain access to a fountain of information as well as all of the documentation required in order to undertake the necessary steps.  The forms are ready to download and complete.  You can also contact them by telephone at 1-800-683-2245.

Kindly,

Sylvie Brault, Courtier Immobilier - Century 21 Realisation - sylvie.brault@century21.ca - 53, rue Du Pont, Quebec, J0J 1A0 - Cell 450-521-0018 - LAISSEZ MOI M'OCCUPER DE TOUT ET SURTOUT DE VOUS!