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Clearing off or not? The double-edged nature of such a determination.

Clearing off or not? The double-edged nature of such a determination.

Clearing off is a very uncomfortable situation for the owner and it often puts a doubt into his mind. Take for example a situation where a tenant vacates his dwelling on June 1st leaving behind various goods of little value, even though the lease does not expire until a few months later. Upon such finding, the owner decides to change the lock but finds himself confronted the following week with a tenant who says that he never wanted to leave the accommodation before the end of the lease. Is it a departure anyway? What to do with the remaining furniture? When is it that the owner can change the locks of the housing?

First, each potentially classifiable situation of departure is based on evaluating its own facts, case by case, as the law does not give a precise definition of this legal concept.

The Quebec Civil Code provides as follows:

Section 1975. – “The lease is resiliated of right where a lessee abandons the dwelling without any reason, taking his movable effects with him; it may also be resiliated without further reason, where the dwelling is unfit for habitation and the lessee abandons it without notifying the lessor.”

The clearing off, as seen above, is a concept evaluated by the facts of each case and it is sometimes difficult to determine whether it occurred or not in your building. To conclude positively, whereas this is not the case, can submit you to prosecution but, however, if it is indeed a clearing off, proceeding according to the law could prevent you from losing rent even longer. The double-edged nature of clearing off is therefore a risk to consider before acting as an owner. So, do not let a situation that worries you continue, and when in doubt, do not hesitate to contact the lawyers of the Association of Quebec Landlords.

About the author

Élène Moussa

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