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Rent Increases and modifications

What steps must your landlord take to increase your rent?

Your landlord can increase the rent and make other changes when you renew your lease (this is called a "lease renewal").

Your landlord must notify you of the change within the time limits set by law. For a one-year lease, your landlord must send you the notice between three and six months before the end of the lease. For a lease ending on June 30, your landlord must send you the notice between January 1 and March 30.

If you refuse the increase or other changes, your landlord must apply to the Tribunal administratif du Logement (TAL - Rental Housing Administrative Tribunal) to change the lease. The TAL can set the new rent and decide what other requested changes.

Your landlord must make this request within one month of receiving your refusal.

How much rent can a landlord charge?

The amount of rent paid depends on what is agreed on between your landlord and you. It may include various things such as parking, electricity and cable.

Pertaining to future rent increases, they usually are set after a year, with 90 days’ written notice. Your government is responsible to set a “guideline” percentage that your landlord is to respect if your place is covered by it. If not, your landlord may be entitled to increase the rent however much they want.

Can my landlord charge interest or late fees?

  • Interests and late fees are not allowed to be applied onto unpaid rent.
  • However, in the case of a cheque that has “bounced” or was of the insufficient sum, the landlord may be allowed to charge you back for the NSF fees charged by the landlord’s bank. You may also be charged administrative costs of 20$.
  • If the matter of unpaid rent is escalated to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) by your landlord, you may be charged back the filing fee - that is 201$, or 186$ if your landlord had filed electronically. You may also be charged interest until you pay the remaining money if you are sued in Small Claims Court.

My lease is ending. Do I have to renew it or move out?

Often, the signed rental agreement is set for a certain period of time, called a “fixed-term lease.” Commonly, this is set for a year, but it could be for almost any length of time.

Once the lease has expired, the tenant may move out, renew the lease for another term, or simply continue the tenancy on a month-to-month basis. The latter option entails no action on the tenant’s part - you automatically become a month-to-month tenant.

If my rental place is sold, can my new landlord charge more rent?

  • Your rental agreement stays intact even if your landlord changes. If you are asked to sign a new lease agreement, you are not obligated to do so.
  • If you are asked to sign documents as part of the sale, it may be better to hold off. It is important to understand your rights and to reach out for legal help.

How do I refuse a rent increase or other lease amendment?

You can refuse by notifying your landlord of your refusal within one month of receiving the notice of the change. It is best to :

  • give your response in writing and
  • keep proof of receipt.

If you do not respond to the notice of the change within the time limit, you are considered to have accepted the changes.

You want to refuse the rent increase. However, you cannot send a letter of refusal to your landlord, who refuses to give you his address. What can you do?

You can send your notice of refusal by different means. Whether it is by mail, email, text message or hand delivery, the important thing is to be able to show that your landlord has received it. For example, using an email address with which you have had exchanges with your landlord may allow you to provide this proof.

If your landlord is a business, you may be able to find their contact information on the Registraire des entreprises du Québec website.

You have received a notice of rent increase that gives you two options: accept the increase or leave the dwelling. Is this request compliant?

Generally, the lease amendment notice must inform you that you also have the option to refuse the changes and remain in the dwelling. A notice that does not contain this option may be considered invalid.

You must still respond to the notice within one month of receiving it. Specify that you refuse the increase and that you will remain in the dwelling. 

Your landlord asks you to sign a document immediately and indicate whether or not you agree to the rent increase. Do you have a time limit to respond?

You have one month to respond to the notice your landlord gives you. If you do not respond within that time, you are considered to have accepted the increase.

Since you refused the rent increase, your landlord has been making repeated visits, turning off the heat and behaving noisily. Everything to disturb you. Do you have any recourse?

Your landlord must respect the rules governing access to your apartment and not abuse this right. Your landlord must also provide you with a habitable dwelling that you can enjoy fully and peacefully. 

If your landlord does not meet these obligations, you can ask the Housing Administrative Tribunal to :

  • give you an amount of money to compensate for the disturbance,
  • reduce your rent and, in some cases
  • terminate your lease.

In addition, your landlord's behaviour may be considered harassment to force you out of your apartment. If this is the case, you can also ask for an amount of money to punish his behaviour. This is called "punitive damages."

Your dwelling is in a new building. Can you refuse the rent increase and stay in the dwelling?

In a building under five years old, you must leave the dwelling if you refuse the rent increase or other lease changes. This should be included into the lease.

The primary purpose of this rule is to allow landlords of new buildings to adjust rents to the market. However, the changes cannot be unreasonable, abusive or illegal and be requested solely to evict you from the dwelling.

Can your landlord change your lease to include a service charge?

No. Service charges are already included in your rent. Therefore, your landlord cannot change your lease to add service charges that you already have.

You also have the right to get your services from the companies you choose, and on the terms you want. For example, your landlord cannot force you to use a specific company for your internet services.

Can work done last year justify a rent increase?

Major repairs or improvements made to the building in the previous year are one of the elements considered when setting the rent.

The increase attributed to the work will depend on the extent of the work.

You have adopted a pet. Can your landlord increase your rent for this reason?

No. The presence of an animal in the dwelling is not a criterion for setting rent. Therefore, your landlord cannot increase your rent for this reason.

However, you must ensure you can have a pet in your dwelling. Check your lease and building rules to find out.

A person has moved in with you as a roommate. Can your landlord increase the rent because one more person is living in the dwelling?

No. The number of people living in the dwelling is not a factor in calculating the rent. Therefore, your landlord cannot increase your rent for this reason.

Also, your landlord cannot restrict the number of people living in the dwelling. However, the size of the dwelling must allow each person to live there in normal comfort and sanitation.

Can your landlord increase your rent because you want to sublet your dwelling?

No. Subletting is not a criterion for setting the rent. Therefore, your landlord cannot increase your rent for this reason.

You must have your landlord's consent to sublet your dwelling. However, your landlord must have a serious reason to refuse. For example, if the person you are subletting to is not able to pay the rent.

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