Skip to main content



In the majority of the buildings, the security systems are often limited to door locks. Since they are the only barrier against unwanted intrusions, they must thus be regularly inspected and maintained in order to avoid accidental closings or nasty surprises for the tenant as well as for the owner.

Moreover, many rental buildings are provided with an entrance lobby where one can generally also find the mail boxes. For the sake of efficiency, many owners did not believe it necessary to put a lock on the first door providing access to the lobby. Safety should be the prime concern however, especially if one considers that a recent judgement by the Québec Rental Board ordered a landlord to pay more than eight thousand dollars (8000$) in damages for neglecting the security of his building following a robbery in a tenant's apartment1. It is even more true in Montreal, where there are bylaws on building security requiring locks on all doors.

Indeed, if the tenant can provide direct evidence that the landlord has neglected building security and has also neglected warnings from various organizations, then the owner could be held responsible for the losses and/or damage suffered by the tenant.

In any event, it's to the owner's advantage to maintain an adequate security in his building to limit the comings and goings and to decrease the risk of vandalism on the building.

Another source of conflict between the owner and the tenant relates to the possession of copies of keys to the dwellings. Firstly, we can confirm that the landlord has the right to have copies of the keys to all of his apartments. Article 1934 of the Civil code of Quebec confirms this rule. On the other hand, in order to avoid a breach of the security of the dwellings, it is recommended to put these keys in a safe with limited access. The reason is simple, because it decreases the risk of loss and it reduces the possibility for the tenant to argue that being in possession of a copy of his key to makes you responsible for a break-in or theft.

On the other hand, if you are not in possession of a copy of the key to one of your dwellings, for whatever reason, in an emergency (water leak, fire or other danger to the occupants, amongst other things) can nevertheless enter the tenant's apartment. Indeed, with the assistance of the police, as well as a locksmith you will be able to enter at your tenant’s dwelling in the event of an emergency while being bale to prove that your entry into the apartment is legitimate and documented. In all the other non-urgent cases, the tenant's consent to enter the dwelling is always required.

Remember, you can always contact a member of the Quebec Landlords Associatio

About the author

Me Jean-Olivier Reed, avocat

Me Jean-Olivier Reed graduated from Collège l'Assomption in legal technology in 1997 and then from the University of Montreal in law in 2001. Member of the bar since 2004, he was a lawyer and building manager from 2004 to 2006.

Lawyer with Messier Soucy lawyers since 2006. He works in real estate law and more particularly in rental law and co-ownership law.

He has written several articles in the newspaper "Le Propriétaire" on various topics dealing with rental law.
He lectures to members of the Quebec Landlords Association on current topics in rental law.

Join now

Not already member of the APQ ?

Take advantage of all our services by joining now

This site uses cookies in order to provide you with the best possible user experience. By continuing to browse this site, you agree to the use of cookies.