In a recent ruling from the Régie du logement, a couple of property owners was sentenced to pay $ 6 000 to their past tenant for having repossessed their dwelling without valid cause. The couple justified the repossession by claiming a separation, although it only lasted a month.
On February 11, 2013, the tenants received a notice of repossession, which was sent outside of the prescribed delays authorized by the Régie. The owners explained that their relationship was struggling and so they wished to reoccupy the dwelling in order for one of them to reside it. They cited having no other choice due to their precarious financial situation. The tenants accepted the repossession for June 5 of the same year without negotiating any compensation.
However, the provided proof showed that a new lease was signed, with new tenants, on July 11 of the same year for a rent increase of 1.8%. Furthermore, no authorization allowing to re-rent the dwelling was granted by the Régie, contrary to article 1970 of the Civil Code of Québec.
The owners justified this turn of events by explaining that they needed to take a step back from their relationship but recovered and got back together after a month of separation. They then rented the now-unoccupied dwelling to new tenants.
To be valid, however, a request for repossession cannot be based on a ‘’volatile or temporary intention’’. The Régie considered that repossessing a dwelling for 2 or 3 weeks depending on the couples mood’’ was not sufficient justification to take precedence over the tenants right to maintain occupancy. Especially since the later had manifested their intention to stay in the apartment and had even initiated renovation work.
For these reasons, the Régie deemed the repossession illegal and condemned the owners to pay $ 1,000 for material and moral damages to the tenants, as well as $ 5,000 in punitive damages in order to prevent any attempt to reoffend.