A lease is a contract that binds the tenant and the landlord. Paying the rent is the tenant’s main obligation.

When to pay, and how

When the tenant and landlord sign the initial lease, they can agree on a day and location for the monthly payment. If nothing is specified as to when and where to pay in the lease, the rent must be paid on the 1st day of the month, and it is the landlord’s responsibility to collect the rent at the tenant’s residence. If the tenant is absent, it will then be the tenant’s responsibility to bring the rent money to the landlord or one of his or her representatives. The rent payment can be made in many ways: for instance, in cash, by cheque, by money order, wire transfer, or even by credit card if the landlord is equipped to receive such a payment. As for the amount of payment itself, the parties must agree when they sign the lease. The landlord cannot, however, require post-dated cheques. Even if this is specified in the lease, the tenant does not need to consent to this. Furthermore, the landlord cannot require more than one payment at a time. The landlord can, however, require the first month’s payment when they sign the lease.

Late payment

Please note that as of the second day of the month, or the day following the lease’s specified payment date, the rent payment will be considered late and in theory, the landlord could make an “application” to the Régie du logement (hereinafter, the “Régie”) to require that the payment be made. When the tenant does not pay the rent money on time, the landlord can make an application to the Régie and request the owed money, plus costs associated to the application as well as interest. It is suggested that the landlord send a demand letter to the tenant prior to submitting the application to the Régie. This will allow the landlord to avoid paying fees to the Régie in the event that the tenant pays the rent in a reasonable time. The interest rate is calculated according to article 28 of the Tax Administration Act. It is currently set at 6%.

Unpaid rent

If the rent still hasn’t been paid after three weeks, in addition to requesting the amount due, the landlord may cancel the lease and evict the tenant. (This adds a lot of weight if mentioned in a demand letter.) The tenant can avoid being evicted if the debts are paid prior to the Régie’s judgement. If the payment is not made in due time, the tenant will have to leave the premises within the deadline set out by the Régie.

Frequent delays

If there are frequent delays in rent payments, the landlord will be in a position to ask for the cancellation of the lease. In such a case however, the landlord will have to prove that these delays are causing him a serious prejudice (or serious harm).

Who must pay?

The people indicated on the lease are responsible to pay the rent. The lease’s signatories are generally jointly and severally liable for the rent payment. For example, if two tenants are responsible for a lease whose rent is $1000 per month (and they both pay $500 per month), and one of them does not pay his share, the landlord could request the total amount from the tenant who already paid his share. If the tenant decides to sub-lease a room to a person who is not indicated on the lease, it will still be the tenant’s responsibility to pay the entire amount of the rent.

Demand letter

Is communication between the parties too challenging? Have you considered sending a demand letter to make your message a little clearer? Having problems related to payments, noise, odours, humidity/mildew, repairs, etc.? Send a demand letter.

You have legal questions? You need a lawyer? We can refer you to a lawyer.

This text explains in a general manner the law that applies and does not constitute a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, write to us and we will refer you to a lawyer.