A reader is a tenant in a house recently put up for sale by its owner. He asks if he is obliged to grant free access to the property for visits.
This tenant is worried not only about his privacy, but also about compliance with the health standards put in place in the current pandemic context.
Fortunately for him, the Civil Code of Quebec provides for a balance between the interests of the owner and those of the tenant. Thus, the owner can, in the case of housing or a house offered for rent, show the premises, but under certain conditions and in compliance with the health standards set by the government.
As soon as the building is put up for sale, the owner can show it to potential buyers and the tenant has the obligation to allow visits. However, the owner must notify him at least 24 hours in advance. In addition, if the visits do not take place between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., the tenant is entitled to refuse.
And if it is the tenant who leaves the accommodation, the owner can show him / her as soon as he receives the notice of non-renewal or termination of the lease. But here too, he must notify the tenant 24 hours in advance and the latter is entitled to refuse a visit scheduled between 9 p.m. in the evening and 9 a.m. in the morning.
Finally, if as a tenant you are concerned to avoid the risk of theft during a visit (yes, it does happen!), Require the presence of the owner or his representative during the visit and ideally be present yourself. .
Repairs and emergencies
In addition to visits to sell or rent your accommodation, the owner has the right to access the accommodation for certain specific contexts, in particular to check the condition of the accommodation or to carry out repairs.
In the case of non-urgent work, the same rules apply: the tenant must receive a 24-hour notice in advance and the work must be done between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., otherwise the right of refusal applies. However, your landlord can enter your home without notice in the event of urgent work, for example if your toilet explodes and water is trickling down to your neighbor downstairs, or if there are sparks in the electrical panel.
For major repairs, but not urgent, your landlord must legally give you at least 10 days notice. In addition, the work must take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Finally, he must provide you with compensation if you need to relocate temporarily. And if this relocation is to last more than a week, the notice given by the owner should not be 10 days, but three months.
Does the pandemic give you the right to refuse a visit?
In a decree adopted on September 30, the government authorizes visits to housing for the purpose of sale or rental and this decree still stands at the time of this writing. It is therefore currently one of the rare contexts where you can receive “visitors” without it being illegal …
- It is best to get along with your landlord. In the event of an unjustified refusal on your part, the Administrative Court of Housing (TAL, formerly the Régie du logement) could decide, which could taint your file if you are found at fault.
- The owner can also sue you for damages if your lack of cooperation results in material damage to the building.
- Conversely, if your landlord enters your home when he is not within his rights, you can initiate procedures at the TAL.
► Ghislain Larochelle is a professional registered with the Order of Engineers of Quebec and with the OACIQ.