General obligations of the landlord

In the last few articles, we have presented several obligations of tenants to their landlords, namely Restoration of the dwelling to good condition as we approach the 1stst July and responsibility for minor repairs.

Now, let's discuss in general terms, what are the landlord's obligations to his tenants?

General obligations of the landlord

The Civil Code of Quebec imposes five major obligations on landlords, including :

  1. Delivery of the dwelling in a good state of repair [art. 1854, al.1]
  2. Enjoyment of the premises [art. 1854, al.1]
  3. Guarantee the use for which the dwelling is rented [art. 1854, al.2]
  4. Ne pas changer la forme ou l’usage du logement [art. 1856]
  5. Make necessary repairs, except for minor repairs [art. 1864]

1. Delivery of the dwelling in good condition

The obligation to deliver implies that the landlord is required to give the tenant the leased property on the date agreed to in the lease. In practice, and unless otherwise stipulated at the time of signing the lease, the landlord should be able to hand over the keys on the start date of the lease and allow the tenant to move into his or her new residence.

In addition, this obligation requires that the leased property be restored to a state of good repair. However, in practice, it is difficult for a landlord to restore the dwelling to a good state of repair when a tenant leaves the 1st July and the new one arrives immediately thereafter. Thus, at the pre-move-in inspection, the parties usually agree on a reasonable time frame and the work to be done.

2. To provide the use of the premises

This obligation on the part of the landlord relates to two types of disturbances: disturbances of fact due to factual circumstances and disturbances of rights which are legal in nature.

De facto disturbances generally take the form of neighbourhood or health problems. In this case, the landlord is not required to compensate for the damage resulting from the de facto disturbance that a third party causes to the enjoyment of the property. However, the landlord may be liable if the third party is also a tenant of the property or is a person to whom the tenant allows use of or access to the property. In the latter case, the lessor must take the necessary steps to put an end to the prejudice and the latter may claim the damages caused or obtain a termination of the lease of the person at fault.

For legal troubles, the landlord is responsible for securing the tenant's rights in the leased property. Thus, another party could not claim to have rights against the rights of the tenant. An example would be a neighbor claiming to have a right to the use of a parking lot.

3. Guarantee the use for which it is rented

The duty of use is, in practice, the landlord's obligation to warrant to the tenant that the property is fit for the purpose for which it is leased, namely habitation, and to maintain it for that purpose throughout the term of the lease.

On the other hand, the landlord cannot be held liable if the tenant fails to inform the landlord of the deterioration or dilapidation of his or her dwelling to the point where he or she can no longer live in it.

4. Do not change the form or use of the dwelling

The lessor and the lessee may not, during the course of the lease, change the form or destination of the leased property. This obligation is therefore shared between the parties.

Thus, they cannot make any major change that would alter the leased property or the use of the premises during the course of the lease. For example, knocking down walls, totally changing the appearance of the property, or the tenant could not make it a tourist residence.

5. Make necessary repairs, except for minor repairs

We discussed this obligation in another article entitled "Who is responsible for minor repairs?"

In summary, the landlord is required, during the course of the lease, to make all necessary repairs to the leased property, with the exception of minor maintenance repairs, since these are the responsibility of the tenant, unless they result from the dilapidation of the property or from force majeure.

Let's remember, to name but a few, that painting during the lease as well as the cleaning of ventilation or air conditioning filters are the responsibility of the tenant.

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