Requests to repossess housing in Quebec increase six months before moving day

“We’ve had about 50 percent more cases,” says a legal services group that advises landlords and tenants in Quebec.

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Before Christmas, some tenants in Quebec received more than greeting cards in the mail. They have also received notices from their owners that they intend to repossess their homes.

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For leases ending June 30, 2022, landlords had until December 31 to announce their intention to repossess a home. Tenants have one month to respond, and failure to do so is considered a refusal to repossess.

Neolegal, an organization that advises landlords and tenants, has seen demand for its legal services in such cases increase compared to December 2020 and January 2021.

“Last year, we had a few files,” explained lawyer Cybèle Prince. “But now I see we’ve had about 50% more cases.”

Prince said the state of the housing market was having an effect and new buyers were wondering how to repossess units.

Data compiled last year by the Regroupement des committees logement et associations de tenantes du Québec (RCLALQ) also showed a significant increase in attempts by new owners to repossess their homes or to evict tenants.

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The law allows repossession under certain conditions. The unit is to be used to house the owner or close relatives such as children or parents. It is only allowed when the owner is a single owner or a couple. “If, for example, I buy a property with a friend, I cannot repossess the unit,” Prince said.

Prince said she advises homeowners to have a “serious plan” in the long term to avoid bad faith lawsuits.

“It can happen. For example, we see that repossession is authorized, but ultimately the person who should occupy the accommodation is no longer there,” she said, explaining that the law does not set a period. minimum period during which an owner must stay in a dwelling after repossession.

A tenant can always challenge a repossession.

“It’s really up to the landlords to prove (to the Administrative Housing Tribunal) that they really want to repossess the home for the person and not for other reasons,” Prince said. “The judge will ask questions about the project, about what he was planning.

She recommended that tenants refuse repossessions or wait for a month’s notice to negotiate with the landlord and find out more about the project.

The law also prohibits repossession when one of the occupants is over 70 years old, has lived there for more than 10 years and has an annual income which makes him eligible for social housing.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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