Failure of One Joint Tenant to Pay Rent

Ingredients

If you signed a lease with a joint tenant, and that tenant stops paying their share of rent, things can get complicated as you are both equally responsible for the rent of the dwelling in full. You don’t want to be held responsible for your roommates portion of the rent, so take the following steps to ensure you do your best to resolve the situation

Instructions:

  1. Have an honest and respectful conversation with your roommate, regarding the non-payment. Don’t instantly assume that they are trying to mess with you, try and understand where they are coming from, and see if you can resolve things without taking legal measures. If your roommate can no longer afford rent then perhaps they need to do a lease transfer in order to find something more affordable.
  2. If no resolution can be made, and your roommate outright refuses to pay their portion of the rent, you may choose to send a demand letter, stating that the rent be paid within a specific time frame. Meanwhile, it could be helpful to contact the landlord and explain the situation, as they are probably wondering why the rent has not been paid in full, and may open a file against you for non-payment. Try to work together with the landlord to figure out how and when the rent will be paid.
  3. If the roommate still refuses to pay and ignores your demand letter, you may decide to open a file against them at the Régie du logement. Although going to the tribunal may sound drastic, your landlord could take all the leaseholders to court for non-payment. If this is the case, you may need to defend your position by going to the Régie du logement and presenting your receipts and demand letter as proof of your attempts to fulfill the obligations of the lease.

FAQ

Shouldn’t I just lend the money to my roommate?

Some people may choose to lend their roommate the rent money; however this is at your own discretion. If you sign a joint-tenancy agreement, it means that both of you agree to take on the responsibility to share the rent, therefore it is not your obligation to lend money.

Will I get evicted if my roommate refuses to pay rent?

Eviction may be a possibility if the rent of the dwelling does not get paid in full. The eviction process may take months and tenants may ultimately be held responsible for the entire rent for the whole length of the lease. In order to ensure that you are not held responsible for additional months of rent,  both keeping your receipts of rental payment and sending the demand letter to your roommate are important steps in defending your position as a paying tenant.

What if my Landlord won’t listen to me?

It’s always important to keep your receipts when you pay rent. That way, even if your landlord refuses to hear your side of the story, you can present your receipts as well as your demand letters to the Régie du Logement.