Freezing and your landlord won’t turn on the heat?

Who would have thought, Montreal is actually as cold as they say it is! Montreal is an old city with old buildings and cold seasons and as such heating is an ongoing issue for tenants. This mean that the landlord is legally required to ensure an adequate temperature in the dwelling throughout the year if the lease stipulates it is their responsibility.  Your apartment must always be a comfortable temperature; in the winter this generally assumed to be at or around 21 Degrees Celsius (70°F).

Instructions:

  1. Make sure to check your lease to ensure the landlord is responsible for the heating. This will be indicated under the ‘responsibilities’ section and should have a box ticked off under ‘landlord’ for the heating.
  2. Send a demand letter to your landlord through registered mail stating your concern about the inadequate heating. Include a copy of the Régie du logement’s handout on heating (Heating Problems).
  3. You need solid evidence that your apartment is cold! Record the temperatures of your apartment by putting a thermometer on a chair in the middle of each room in your apartment. Indicate the date, time, outdoor temperature and indoor temperature for a period of days. See this temperature registry as an example of how to keep track of temperatures in your apartment.
  4. Witnesses may also be used, invite your friends over to chill.
  5. This document can be utilized to negotiate with your landlord and also as evidence at a hearing at the Régie du logement.

FAQ

What if there’s a clause in the lease that states a specific date for the heating to go on?

There is no legal date either under the Régie du logement, the municipality or provincially when heating should be turned on considering this would be unrealistic according to the diverse temperatures and seasons. There is however a temperature which needs to be upheld in order to ensure the enjoyment of a dwelling, that of 21 degrees.

What if the landlord refuses to turn it on even after I send them the sheet of recorded temperatures?

You may open a file against your landlord at the Régie du logement. Make sure to keep a paper trail of all your contact with the landlord. This means communicating in writing by demand letter. This will take time so you may also want to ‘winterize’ your apartment.

What should I do if my heaters are broken?

This is the landlords responsibility, they need to know that this is broken and they need to fix it properly. Therefore you need to send them a demand letter by registered mail explaining the situation and demanding that they send someone to fix it. This can be considered an urgent and necessary repair especially if this happens during the winter months,  which means you have the flexibility of calling in a professional and taking that some out of your rent. Take a look at Urgent and Necessary Repairs policy of the Régie du logement.