Abandonment

Ingredients

A lease is a legally binding agreement, in most cases the tenant does not have the right to abandon the dwelling, and in doing so could result in getting sued for non-payment of rent at the Régie du Logement. If you are having problems in your apartment, you have the responsibility of sending a demand letter to your landlord and potentially resolving the problem with the help of the Régie du Logement. However, in certain cases, your apartment could become uninhabitable, this could be due to a fire, flood, excessive vermin, or other forces of nature which suddenly take over your dwelling. Before you hit the road, make sure you call the city inspectors in order to obtain an official report which deems your dwelling officially unfit for habitation. After having done so, here is how to proceed;

Instructions

  1. Inform your landlord of the situation leading you to abandoning the dwelling.
  2. Send the notice of abandonment by registered mail to your landlord before you leave the dwelling or within the next 10 days and attach any relevant documentation to the emergency or state of your apartment. Do this regardless of whether or not you have already abandoned the dwelling (in the case of an emergency like a fire or a flood). If you wish to move back into the apartment after it has been repaired from the incident, it is important to indicate your temporary address so your landlord can contact you when the apartment is ready. Otherwise, your lease is considered resiliated.
  3. If you can move your items out of the apartment and into your new accommodations, do so.
  4. If you informed your landlord of your new address they should send you a notice of when the apartment is fit for habitation again. At this point you can choose to either move back in to your place, or not. Either way it is important to respond to your landlord within 10 days by registered mail.

FAQ

My apartment has been infested with bedbugs for some time, can I abandon my dwelling?

Unless you have taken the steps to fully inform your landlord by a registered letter of the situation and have had the apartment inspected and deemed uninhabitable by a city inspector or equivalent professional, you do not have grounds for abandonment.  Read more about dealing with bedbugs here.

Do I need to keep paying my rent after abandoning the dwelling?

If the reason you’re abandoning the dwelling is because of an event you are responsible for, such as a fire, then you must keep paying the rent until your lease is resiliated. Otherwise, if the reason for abandonment was beyond your control then you may have the right to cease paying rent; make sure to get an opinion from your local housing committee.

If the reason for abandonment was not my fault and I have damaged items as a result of the event, what do I do?

Write a demand letter to your landlord requesting they compensate you for your damaged belongings. If they refuse, you may want to file for a hearing at the Régie du Logement.