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The APQ in parliamentary committee for Bill n°492: An Act to amend the Civil Code to protect seniors’ rights as lessees

The APQ in parliamentary committee for Bill n°492: An Act to amend the Civil Code to protect seniors’ rights as lessees

The Association of Quebec Landlords (APQ) will be heard in September on the Bill tabled by Mrs Françoise David in the spring to restrict repossession which is a fundamental right of any owner of rental housing.

In reading the draft law the APQ understands that one wishes to drastically restrict the right of owners, the conditions of repossession and evictions.

One thus requires from an owner who wishes to repossess a dwelling under Section 1957 of the Québec Civil Code to provide an equivalent dwelling to a tenant corresponding to his needs when his health or financial position are precarious.

In addition, one wants to ban the possibility of a housing repossession or eviction of an elderly person between December 1 and March 31.

Currently, remember that repossession has been established so that a particular owner can repossess a dwelling to live in there himself, to house an ascendant or descendant in the first degree or any other related or allied person of which he is the chief support, or to a spouse of which he remains the principal mainstay after a bodily separation, divorce or dissolution of a civil union. The right to repossession is already accompanied by very stringent notices and deadlines and is not possible when there is more than one owner (unless it is the other spouse).

The law also provides that, if the court authorizes repossession, it may impose such conditions as it deems just and reasonable, including payment of compensation equivalent to moving costs. Note also that the compensation has often been circumscribed by age and ability of the tenant.

In the case of an eviction for subdivision, substantial enlargement or change of assignment, the tenant is automatically entitled to an indemnity of three months’ rent and moving expenses.

While the Association of Quebec Landlords (APQ) is sensitive to the situation of the elderly, it considers that it would be utterly unreasonable to adopt such a Bill that would jeopardize real- estate investment in Quebec, in addition to harming the economic value of the buildings in which elderly people live.

Moreover, the law provides that an owner can repossess a dwelling for a parent. In some situations the owner also wants to repossess the dwelling in question for an elderly parent who is in a similar or even worse situation than the seniors one wants to overprotect in the draft Act. On other occasions it provides for someone whose landlord is the main support, so in a precarious situation.
Also, as has been explained, those in special situations are already protected by the judge's discretion in granting the relocation allowance.

If these people need assistance to move and find a new home and, if the government wants to help them, this burden should not be carried by the owner but rather by the State. Regarding the winter break on evictions between December 1 and March 31, it is the same: non-payment is the most important cause for termination of the lease and eviction. The APQ suggests therefore that the government takes care of the payment of rent during the months when the owner must accommodate the tenant for free.

Finally, the APQ is afraid that such changes impair the value of buildings inhabited by elderly tenants and, ultimately, the quality of the buildings housing them and that they create animosity rather than protection. For these reasons the APQ suggests avoiding any changes in this direction.

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Québec Landlords Association

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