Tenant activists are active on the Internet trying to make it look like the lease amendment form used by thousands of landlords is not in compliance with the law. Clearly, this is the notice model proposed to landlords by CORPIQ, which has not changed in decades and is perfectly legal.
The falsehoods conveyed attack the compliance with the law of the information contained in the notice model and the options offered to the tenant. The propagandists claim that the notice should contain three response options for the tenant: 1) I accept the lease amendment 2) I refuse the amendment and I will leave at the end of the lease 3) I refuse the amendment and I renew my lease. Obviously, the third option would mean that the landlord would have to go to court to plead the lease amendment.
What the law says
Pursuant to Article 1943 of the Civil Code of Quebec, the notice must contain certain mandatory elements, including the period of time allowed to the tenant to refuse the proposed modification. A notice that does not contain the three response options mentioned above is therefore not illegal.
CORPIQ's notice model, available in the Member area of the corpiq.com website, complies fully with the law. It informs the tenant of the response time if he or she does not accept the modifications. If a judge eventually invalidates it, CORPIQ would immediately contest this decision before a higher court, on the condition of course that the landlord informs us before the expiry of the appeal period.
In 2015, the Tribunal administratif du logement introduced a new lease form prescribed by a regulation adopted by the Quebec government. On page 4 of all leases, there is now a response template that can be used by the tenant, including the option to check "I refuse the modification and I renew my lease". Anyone who claims that this proves that the landlord must list the tenant's three options in his notice is mistaken or trying to mislead the public. Indeed, the "notice model " and "response model" contained in the official leases of the Tribunal administratif du logement have no legal value and therefore do not constitute an obligation to be reproduced as is by the landlord and the tenant. CORPIQ had, moreover, verified this with the government authorities in 2015.
What not to do
Despite the foregoing, it must be noted that some landlords have designed their own model of amendment notices that diverge from those proposed by the Tribunal or by CORPIQ. More specifically, some landlords offer the tenant only two choices: "I accept the amendment and renew my lease" and "I refuse the amendment and will leave at the end of my lease". According to the Tribunal, this way of formulating the notice misleads the tenant. In fact, there have been decisions where the landlord has lost his or her rights and his or her rent increase.
CORPIQ agrees with the Tribunal's interpretation. If a landlord adds to the option of a refusal answer that the tenant must leave at the end of the lease, then the landlord must also add the option that the tenant who refuses the amendment may renew his or her lease.
It is understandable that the landlord would not want the tenant to refuse the rent increase and renew the lease for another year. This forces the landlord to apply to the Tribunal for rent fixation, a burden. However, CORPIQ does not see how the strategy of including in the notice only part of the tenant's rights in the hope that he does not discover his other rights can find any justification before a Tribunal.