Ending the Lease Due to Spousal or Sexual Violence

Ingredients

If you or a child you live with are being subject to or threatened by spousal or sexual violence within your dwelling, you have every right to terminate your lease. This recipe is for those who are in a situation that they need to get out of; remember that your well-being and the well-being of your loved ones always comes first. Make sure that you are in a safe place, and then review these steps for cancelling your lease to avoid legal complications down the road.

Instructions

  1. If you feel that you or your loved ones are in immediate danger, call the police.
  2. Vacate your dwelling if necessary and stay with a friend or close relative. If this isn’t possible, consider contacting a local shelter.
  3. Acquire (from a police station, CLSC or shelter) and fill out the “Request for an attestation for the purpose of resiliating a lease on the grounds of violence or sexual assault” form. You will need to include a copy of your lease and the police/shelter/health professional/social worker statement that you have pertaining to your abuse situation.
  4. Bring the completed form to a commissioner of oaths. (You can find one at: http://www.assermentation.justice.gouv.qc.ca/ServicesPublicsConsultation/Commissaires/Proximite/Criteres.aspx)
  5. If you originally filed a police report relating to the abuse you can submit your form and supporting documents to the Montréal Municipal Court (for Montréal only). Otherwise you can submit this form to the nearest “directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales” office or a local courthouse (you can find the closest courthouse here: http://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/english/recherche/district-a.asp). The form should be processed quickly.
  6. Once you have received your attestation, send it with a registered letter to your landlord indicating the nature of your resiliation.
  7. If your lease length is a year or longer, it will end two months from the date of your registered letter. If your lease is shorter than one year or has no specific length, it will end a month from the date of your registered letter. Your landlord and you can also agree to terminate the lease sooner.

For more information:

http://www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/ending-lease-spousal-or-sexual-violence

FAQ

Do I need to keep paying rent once I leave the dwelling due to spousal or sexual violence?

Yes, unfortunately the law requires you to continue paying the rent until your lease is terminated. Remember, safety comes first, and there may be social services available to help you cover costs.

What happens if my landlord refuses my attestation and notice of abandonment?

If your attestation was completed properly and accepted by the police or municipal court your lease will be terminated two months from your notice to the landlord. They cannot force you to pay rent past this point.