Problems during the lease
© Fernando Calderón
If you have more specific questions about your situation you can contact us and we can give you more information, however here is some general information on how to assert your rights.
If you encounter a problem in your housing (water leak, heating, presence of vermin, odors, noise, etc.), you must notify your landlord as soon as possible (Article 1858 of the Civil Code of Quebec). However, sometimes the owners are reluctant to take action to resolve the situation (fix the leak, increase the heating, call an exterminator, etc.) you have the resources.
A letter of formal notice
The first step in any legal procedure at TAL is to send a letter of formal notice. A letter of formal notice serves as a final warning to your landlord before you take legal action. The jurisprudence (old decisions of the judges of the court) is clear on the subject, you must first have sent a letter of formal notice before opening a request to the TAL.
You can find a model letter of formal notice in the Letter Templates section of our website. These letters must be brief and precise on the events and problems you are experiencing in your housing, you must also sign it and have proof of receipt from your landlord (registered mail, bailiff, in person with signature, etc.).
Once the letter has been received, you will have to wait for the indicated deadline before starting your resources.
The complaint to the city
The district inspectors’ service is free and is often faster than obtaining a court hearing.
The city complaints service deals with sanitation issues, urgent repairs, and all other issues that affect the safety of the residents of a housing.
Therefore, you cannot make a complaint to the city if your neighbor makes noise, but you can call them if it is less than 21°C in your housing.
The inspection service requests a letter of formal notice before inspecting a housing, it is however possible that the service makes an exception if the situation is urgent (no heating in winter, dangerous presence of asbestos) and other great dangers to health or safety).
To make a complaint to the city, you can call 311 after the deadline provided in the formal notice. The reception will take your contact details and an inspector will contact you to come and inspect the housing. Their report will then be available through an access to information request.
This last procedure (request for access to information) may take some time to process, so do not wait until the day before your hearing to request it. Request access to information
Request to the Administrative Housing Tribunal
In the vast majority of cases, to open a request to the Tribunal, you must first send a letter of formal notice. If not, the judge may reject your request.
Complete your request
There are three main sections to a request to the Administrative Court of Housing:
Identification of the parties:
In this section, you identify the parties concerned by this request. If you are the person opening the request, you are the “requesting” party. You must also indicate the name of your landlord as well as the address of the housing concerned, the address where you can be reached (the Tribunal will send you mail), and the address of your landlord.
If you change your address before your hearing, it is extremely important to notify the Tribunal as soon as possible.
The object of the request:
In this section, you must indicate what you desire to obtain from this hearing: is it a reduction in rent? And if so, how many? Extermination? Do you want any repairs done? And if so, which ones? You need to be brief and precise on what you want, a judge will never give you more than what you ask for.
If ever one of your requests changes or you want to add a request before the hearing, it is possible to make an “amendment”.
Reasons for the request:
In this section you can explain your problem in more detail, once again be specific and brief and stay on top of things. This is to give a small summary of the situation as to why you are opening this request. You can also put your formal notice in the appendix and refer to it in the reasons section.
Once your request has been completed and filed with the Tribunal, you have 45 days to notify your landlord of the opening of the request. To do so, you must send the copy of the request (with the file number) as well as the list of evidence (if you have chosen this option) to your landlord AND you must send the proof of receipt of your shipment and your list of evidence to the Tribunal. If you do not send this evidence to the Tribunal before the end of the 45 days, your request will be closed.
Proof of notification can be a copy of the request signed by your landlord (if you give it in person), proof of receipt of registered mail, a bailiff’s report, etc. You can send this proof by mail or via the TAL website under the section Transmission of documents to the Tribunal.
Two practical tools
Article on how to prepare for your hearing:
The docket of the Administrative Court of Housing (TAL):
After submitting a request to the TAL, you can follow up your file online: https://www.tal.gouv.qc.ca/en/your-application-online/processing-status-of-your-case
You just need to do a search either using your file number or using your civil address, your apartment number, and your postal code. You will also have access to the history of events recorded in your file from the receipt of your request until the final decision.
We call jurisprudence all judicial and administrative decisions, which constitute an important source of law. Judges very often rely on jurisprudence to render their own decision. It is therefore a useful information bank to consult to either support your request to the TAL or to know its chances of success. The CANLII website allows you to search using keywords: