As a new tenant, something important you should be aware of is that the process of moving out in Quebec is distinct from that of other provinces, and there are a number of legal implications involved.
Perhaps the most important difference about Quebec law versus housing laws in other provinces, is that leases in Quebec automatically renew. This means that if you have signed a lease, you are legally entitled to remain living in the dwelling for as long as you want, provided you comply with the conditions of the lease. It also means that unless you provide proper notice to your Landlord several months before the lease end date, you are legally required to keep paying rent year after year.
Moving out correctly requires time and organization, so don’t leave things to the last minute or you may encounter troubles down the road. Here is an overview of your options
Tenants whose names appear on the lease:
Most tenants are required to sign an official Québec lease, which enters you into a legal relationship with your Landlord. If you plan to move out of the apartment at the end of your lease, you must pay close attention to the amount of notice you are required to give to your Landlord:
- Leases of 12 months require at least 3-6 months notice
- Leases of less than 12 months or “indeterminate” leases require 1-2 months notice
Caution! Providing official notice does not mean simply telling your Landlord verbally that you want to leave. You must either send a letter through registered mail informing your landlord of your plan to move, or you may submit a Notice of non-renewal of the lease in person provided that you keep a copy which is signed and dated by the landlord.
Keep in mind that you may recieve a notice of rental increase from your landlord before the end of your lease. The landlord is allowed to propose a rental increase once a year, and if you plan to move out, you must respond to the letter of rental increase within one month of receiving it.
Occupants and boarders without a lease:
Occupants and boarders who are not on the lease are not bound to the guidelines set by the Régie du Logement in terms of giving official notice. Generally occupants and boarders give one month’s notice to the lease-holder or homeowner if they are planning to leave.
Tenants who are leaving their apartments temporarily may choose to sublet their dwelling.
It is a common misconception that if a tenant wishes to leave before the end of the lease, that they may simply sublet the dwelling until the lease ends. However, as previously stated, leases in Quebec automatically renew year after year, therefore keep in mind that until you provide notice of non-renewal, or transfer your lease to a new tenant, you will still be ultamitely responsible for paying the rent.
For more information, please refer to Subletting your dwelling
3. Lease Transferring
Tenants who wish to move out before the end of the lease may choose to transfer their lease to a new tenant. This involves searching for suitable replacement who is able to pay the rent, and notifying your landlord, who must consent to the transfer. A successful lease transfer allieviates the original tenant from the responsibility of paying rent, as well as all other responsibilities of the lease.
For more information, please refer to Transferring your lease
4. Cancelling the Lease
Cancelling the lease before the end of the lease term is difficult to do, however in a few specific situations it may be done.
For more information, please refer to Cancelling your Lease.