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Urgent repairs

Urgent repairs

The owner of an apartment building has the responsibility to carry out, in the shortest possible time, work considered to be urgent and necessary to ensure the preservation or the enjoyment of his dwellings. The tenant, on the other hand, must allow the owner access and live with these repairs. The emergency must be such that it prevents the proper use of the housing. It could be a defect in the heating system during the winter, a large leak in the piping, faults in the electrical installations, blocked drains, or the impossibilty to use the sanitary facilities.

So that the owner can proceed as quickly as possible with the work the tenant has the duty, of course, to warn him as soon as possible of any problems of which he has knowledge, urgent or not.

The tenant must, in a situation that requires rapid action, inform the owner or attempt to reach him in order to notify him about it. If the owner is absent or delays the work, the tenant may then, exceptionally, under Article 1868 of the Civil Code of Québec, carry out the repair himself and incur expenses on condition that it is urgent and necessary for the preservation or use of his housing.

In urgent situations the tenant should know that even if the law allows him to carry out repairs considered to be a priority or to make an expense, this right must be exercised with great caution, because the tenant may eventually have to report about it to the owner. For the re-imbursement of expenses made, the lessee must submit to the owner invoices, receipts or other documentation giving proof.

The interventions of the tenant must therefore be limited to essential work and the costs must be minimized. He can even call upon a qualified person to do the appropriate reparation such as a plumber, an electrician or a carpenter. The goal is to resolve the situation for the time being without incurring excess expenditure to what is strictly necessary to remedy the situation.

The tenant has the right to be re-imbursed for the sums involved and it is therefore the responsibility of the owner to do so.

It should be noted that in the case of non-emergency repairs, that are nevertheless required from the owner, either under lease or by law, the tenant must apply to the Court before being allowed to carry them out in place of the owner. Amount and conditions will be determined in the judgment authorizing the work.

About the author

Me Annie Lapointe, notaire

Me Annie Lapointe s’est jointe à l’équipe à titre d’étudiante au cours de l’été 2010, pendant ses études en droit, ce qui lui a permis d’être sensibilisée à la situation vécue par les propriétaires d’immeubles locatifs. Elle a obtenu son Baccalauréat en droit, ainsi qu’un diplôme de 2e cycle en droit notarial à l’Université de Sherbrooke. Elle a ensuite complété un stage de 32 semaines au sein d’une étude notariale de type traditionnel en Montérégie.

Me Lapointe a ensuite débuté sa pratique en tant que notaire et conseillère juridique au sein du Cabinet MESSIER SOUCY Avocats, dès son assermentation et son admission à la Chambre des notaires du Québec depuis 2012.

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