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  • Writer's pictureMartin B DeBellefeuille

The Right to Maintain Occupancy

Did you know that the right to maintain occupancy for a residential lease also applies to third parties who reside in the dwelling?

An essential principle of residential lease law in Quebec is that of maintaining occupancy, and this principle has several implications.

Firstly, a tenant can remain in their dwelling for as long as they wish. This is the basic principle of the right to maintain occupancy. Moreover, at the end of the initial lease term, the residential lease is automatically renewed unless the tenant provides contrary notice.

If the initial lease term was for more than 12 months, then it is renewed for a duration of 12 months.

Furthermore, even if the building is sold to a new owner, this has no impact on the leases in place at the time of the sale. The leases between the former owner and the tenants remain valid and in effect. The new owner must respect all the conditions outlined in the leases.

The right to maintain occupancy also applies to third parties who may live in the building with the tenant. It applies not only to the married spouse or common-law partner but also to parents or allies who have lived with the tenant for at least 6 months.

In practical terms, this means that if the tenant were to leave the dwelling but the tenant's spouse continues to occupy the dwelling and notifies the landlord within 2 months of the tenant's departure, then the spouse has the right to maintain occupancy as if they were the tenant of the dwelling.

This right also exists for the person who resides with the tenant at the time of the tenant's death. However, in these cases, the lease is not automatically renewed upon its expiry. If the person (subtenant) who resides in the building wishes to continue living there at the end of the term, they must sign a new lease with the landlord.

There are, however, some exceptions to the principle of maintaining occupancy. These exceptions will be addressed in the next two blog articles dealing with the landlord's reclamation of the dwelling and the eviction of a tenant.

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