Recourse between occupants of the same dwelling
Proximity justice centers (CJP) offer free and confidential legal information services to all citizens, regardless of their income or the legal nature of the problem experienced.
Unfortunately, it happens too often that we regret our choice of roommate. When our relationships come to a breaking point, the law offers different options, which vary depending on the facts.
To understand the solutions available to you, you will first need to determine the type of agreement that unites you: is it a shared apartment within the meaning of the law, a sublet or if the person is simply occupying the premises?
In addition, the first step is to try to come to an amicable agreement. To help you in this process, do not hesitate to contact one of the resources listed at the end of this post.
The room mate
If an agreement is not possible, you can apply to the Administrative Tribunal for Housing (the “TAL”, formerly the Régie du logement) to have a request for the eviction of your roommate heard. This request, called a “Request to terminate a roommate agreement”, allows you to obtain an order to force the departure of your roommate. To achieve this, you will need to prove the existence of a roommate agreement AND the behavior of your roommate that causes you serious harm.
Prove the existence of a colocation agreement (verbal or written)
If both names are on the lease, this is proof of shared accommodation.
If only your name is indicated on the lease, you will have to prove the existence of an agreement to the court. This proof can be done by means of a written agreement. In the absence of a written document, you will be able to relate to the court the nature of your verbal agreement and submit evidence that supports your testimony, such as bank transfers.
However, in the absence of any proof, you will not be able to be heard by the TAL and your remedies will be limited. Generally, a financial claim could be brought before the civil courts, in particular before the Court of Quebec, Small Claims Division.
Convince NLP that your roommate’s behavior is causing you serious harm
In Kellner, the TAL ordered the eviction of a roommate because of his behavior in that he insulted his roommates, had baselessly demanded money from them and, in general, had returned ” [d’une des] room-mate[s] miserable ”(paragraph 34).
In Dinelle, one tenant complained that the other tenant had engaged in violent and delusional behavior, humiliating and insulting when she was under the influence of alcohol. Finally, in Gauthier, during an argument between 2 joint tenants, one of them showed violence towards the other by sticking a knife in the kitchen counter. The violent behavior of the latter, directed towards the other tenant, was deemed fatal to the cohabitation of the tenants. His lease was terminated
By virtue of Civil Code of Quebec, tenants may also consider using part or all of their accommodation by a third party, in exchange for a payment that looks like a share of the rent. This type of arrangement is called a sublet and is similar to a colocation arrangement.
In deciding whether there is a sublet agreement, the TAL relies primarily on the intention of the individuals to form such an agreement. Unlike the co-rental agreement, the subletting involves several legal formalities, such as the notification of a notice of subletting the accommodation to the owners. However, the courts have already recognized verbal agreements that did not respect legal formalities.
How then do you know if it is a colocation or sublet agreement? The answer lies in the intention of the parties to form a sublet rather than a colocation agreement. In the presence of a sublet agreement, the TAL can render judgments on the obligations and shortcomings of all the people involved, namely the owners, the tenants and the subtenants.
In Salera, owners requested the eviction of their tenant in particular because he had illegally sublet the accommodation without having notified them in advance, contrary to what the law requires. The tenant admitted to sharing his accommodation with third parties in exchange for sharing common expenses (Internet, telephone, heating, electricity and other accessories of the accommodation), but denied having intended to sublet his accommodation. The administrative judge concluded that the qualification of an apartment as subletting or not ultimately depends on the common intention of the individuals.
If it determines to be in the presence of a sublet, the TAL can:
- Evict a sub-tenant who refuses to vacate the dwelling after the end of the period agreed to in the sublet agreement, at the tenant’s request (e.g .: Cheshmavar).
- Evict subtenants who cause neighborhood disturbances, at the request of the owners (e.g .: Rioux Realties Inc..).
- Evict a tenant AND subtenants who do not use the housing as prudent and diligent people would, at the request of the owners (e.g .: Bouganim).
- Evict a tenant and a sub-tenant when the tenant has sublet the entire unit and has not lived there for more than 12 months (e.g .: FDL Company ltée).
Some tenants let loved ones move in with them without having a sublet agreement. Often, tenants do not require any clear contribution to the rent or only ask for a contribution to certain common expenses, such as groceries. Their relatives are then qualified by the courts as simple occupants. Tenants’ recourse is very limited in such cases when the situation escalates.
Generally, the TAL refuses to render a judgment in the context of a conflict between a tenant and a simple occupant.
For example, in Lamarre, the TAL refused to rule on a dispute between 2 sisters who lived in the same accommodation. The tenant had lodged her sister to help her out. The latter never agreed to any agreement or contract. The occupying sister refused to leave and, unfortunately, the TAL did not order her departure since it did not have the right to intervene.
In short, if the person is only a simple occupant of your home, you will have to consider much more complex recourse before the courts to force their departure.
Do not hesitate to contact the local justice center in your region if you have any questions in this area to obtain more legal information.
Other resources available
- Visit this page of the TAL to learn how to enter into a formal sublet agreement. You will also find on the site examples of decisions rendered by this tribunal.
- You will find all the decisions rendered by the TAL on the SOQUIJ website.
- To help you in your negotiations to reach an amicable agreement, ask for the help of volunteers trained in the process of citizen mediation.
- Do you fear for yourself? Contact the police or the Crime Victims Assistance Center.
- Are you an elderly or disabled person and fear that your roommate will exploit you financially? You can file a complaint with the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse.
This post, resulting from a collaboration between the Greater Montreal Community Justice Center and SOQUIJ, aims to demystify appeals between occupants of the same dwelling.
- Kellner v. Jung (RDL, 2016-02-11), 2016 QCRDL 5265, SOQUIJ AZ-51255125. Request for revocation of judgment rejected (RDL, 2016-03-22), 2016 QCRDL 10618, SOQUIJ AZ-51267272.
- Dinelle c. Belair (RDL, 2014-12-15), 2014 QCRDL 42940, SOQUIJ AZ-51136316, 2015EXP-217.
- Gauthier v. Beautiful eyes (RDL, 2015-09-30), 2015 QCRDL 31984, SOQUIJ AZ-51220214.
- Salera c. Castillo(RDL, 2016-06-07), 2016 QCRDL 19591, SOQUIJ AZ-51295253, 2016EXP-2751.
- Cheshmavar v. Crepault(RDL, 2018-11-08), 2018 QCRDL 37155, SOQUIJ AZ-51544264.
- Immeubles Rioux inc. vs. Dalmaida (RDL, 2018-12-21), 2018 QCRDL 42349, SOQUIJ AZ-51557463.
- Bouganim v. Tewfik (RDL, 1995-02-08), SOQUIJ AZ-95061088,  JL 185.
- Compagnie FDL ltée c. Klasa(CQ, 2009-03-10), 2009 QCCQ 3425, SOQUIJ AZ-50552613, JE 2009-871,  RDI 437. Motion to suspend the execution of the judgment rejected (CS, 2009-04-21), 2009 QCCS 1683, SOQUIJ AZ-50551753.
- Lamarre v. Lamarre (RDL, 2017-10-20), 2017 QCRDL 33889, SOQUIJ AZ-51435786.