Repossession of a dwelling by the owner

The lessee of a dwelling has a right to maintain occupancy. In principle, this means that the lessee may remain in his dwelling for as long as he wishes.

However, the owner may repossess one of his dwellings to use it as a residence for himself or for his son, daughter, father or mother, or any other relative or person connected by marriage or a civil union of whom the lessor is the main support. He may also repossess the dwelling as a residence for a spouse of whom the lessor remains the main support after a separation from bed and board or divorce or the dissolution of a civil union.

To do so, the lessor must inform the lessee in writing of his intention at least six months before the expiry of the lease. The notice must indicate the name of the person who will occupy the dwelling, the bond with the lessor and the date of repossession. When the lease is for six months or less, this notice must be sent at least one month before the expiry of the lease. For a lease of an indeterminate term, the notice must be sent at least six months before the date of repossession.

In every case, the repossession is effective only upon expiry of the lease. If the lessee refuses to comply or fails to reply to the lessor within one month following receipt of the notice, the lessor may apply to the Régie du logement for authorization to repossess his dwelling. This application must be received by the Régie within one month following the lessee’s refusal to vacate the dwelling or his failure to reply to the lessor’s notice.

For applicable notices, verify the delays on the Regie de logement website.

If the immovable has several owners (undivided co-ownership), two conditions must be present for one of the owners to be able to repossess a dwelling:

  1. the number of owners may not exceed two;
  2. the owners must be spouses (married or connected by a civil union or de facto spouses for at least six months).

So for instance if three people co-own a triplex, none of them may repossess one of the dwellings to use as a residence. To repossess a dwelling, the owner must be a natural person. Therefore the sole shareholder of a company that owns a multiple-unit building, not being the owner of the building himself, may not repossess one of the dwellings as a residence for himself, a connected person or other dependent person.

Repossession by the purchaser

The purchaser of a building occupied by lessees who wishes to repossess a dwelling as a residence for himself or for a dependent person must sign the act of sale before sending a notice of repossession to the lessees. To avoid contestation, it is also recommended to make sure the act of sale has been published in the land register of the Bureau de la publicité des droits before sending the notice.

For example, the purchaser of a building who wishes to repossess a dwelling that has a lease expiring on June 20 must make sure not only that the act of sale is signed, but also published by December 31 of the previous year at the latest, which is the deadline for sending the notice of repossession of the dwelling to the lessee. If the sale is published after this date, the new purchaser may have to wait an extra year before being able to repossess the dwelling.

A promising buyer who wishes to repossess a dwelling in the immovable he is proposing to purchase should check the leases to determine the timelines he must follow in accordance with the procedure required by law. It is important to note that any promise to purchase concerning an income property should be made conditional to an examination of the leases.