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The assessment of the premises: An important step at the time of departure of a tenant or handing-over of an apartment to a new tenant

The assessment of the premises: An important step at the time of  departure of a tenant or handing-over of an apartment to a new tenant

During the handing-over of a dwelling, the assessment of the condition premises is an often neglected step.

Indeed, this procedure can seem tedious but it makes it possible to determine the condition of a dwelling on a precise date, either at the time of departure of the tenant or at the arrival of a new tenant, in order to avoid conflicts with them.

This procedure is very important in the renting process since it makes it helps the owner to respect and important duty, which is the delivery of the dwelling in good condition of habitability and repair.

 It also makes it possible for the owner to determine whether repairs need to be carried out, or whether fixtures need to be repaired following the departure of the tenant.

 This procedure has the advantage of making it possible for the owner to better determine who is liable for a repair, and if necessary, to claim damages from the former tenants.

 This stage also makes it possible to prevent the tenant from dodging his obligations if he damaged the dwelling during the lease by using that often heard excuse: “It was like that when we arrived”.

 Unfortunately, without an assessment of the premises, your means of proving that this is false are limited.

 In any event, an assessment of the premises proves useful in the renting process. An informed owner, eager to begin a harmonious relationship with his tenant, also wants to maintain his building in good condition.

On another note, the painting of a dwelling is also very often part of the discussions during the signing of a lease, when the tenant is moving out, or even during the term of the lease.

For this reason, one of the obligations imposed on the owner by the Civil Code of Quebec is to deliver the dwelling in good condition of habitability and repair. Does this include painting? The answer varies according to the circumstances.

Indeed, the wear and tear of the paint of a dwelling because of its being worn-out or is old for example, can constitute an obligation to repair on the owner's part exactly because of the paint is old and worn out, but not because the tenant doesn't like the colour of the walls.

In other circumstances, if the paint itself is in good condition, but the colours are not to the tenant's liking, this time its up to the tenant to change the colour at his expense.

In spite of that, when the colours of the dwelling are dark, odd or quite simply worn, the signing of the lease is generally conditional on supplying paint to the tenant who will take care of the painting himself or, the owner may agree to refresh the paint in the dwelling himself. Here we can understand the importance of assessing the premises.

In the same way, case law on this issue has historically ruled that, throughout the lease, the painting of the walls was, in the majority of the cases, considered to be minor repairs or maintenance which was the tenant's responsibility.

In any event, the low cost of this kind of investment can often encourage the signing of a lease and and good relations between the parties. It is perhaps better to avoid starting a debate on this point especially considering the discounts offered to the members of the APQ on paint. (See this newspaper for this offer).

In cases of litigation or uncertainty on these topics, do not hesitate to consult our legal team before taking action.

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.

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