A landlord can repossess another rental unit even if he lives in one, in the same building

Article locked Published on by Me Robert Soucy

Topic(s): Legal

Source: Messier, Soucy, Avocats

A landlord can repossess another rental unit even if he lives in one, in the same building
The facts---A building has three (3) rental units distributed over three floors. The tenants live in the basement in an 8 1/2 room dwelling. They have the exclusive use of the basement and the adjoining yard. The basement is used as a shelving and storage area. The second rental unit is located on the 2nd and has 7 ½ rooms, and rent is $715.00 per month.

The landlords use the flat on the second floor, and have been since July 2001. This unit has 8 ½ rooms. The landlords wish to repossess the basement unit to live in it. They allege that their life situation has changed over the last year, hence the request to repossess their unit.

The landlords’ motivation

When the landlords bought the building, they were tenants, and their unit had been repossessed by the landlord so they took the unit on the third floor in 2001 with the landlord’s consent. At the time, the unit met their needs. The only have one child age 6, who can easily use the stairs. In addition, this unit was cheaper than the other units. They are satisfied with the situation up until the birth of a new baby in October.

The landlord notices, since the birth of his son, that she has difficulty going downstairs with a baby and carriage. She doesn’t feel safe and fears for her baby’s well-being. Her insecurity is exacerbated by the fact she has knee ligament problems. This problem has been bothering her for years and she had a knee operation to mend the torn ligament. Her knee is weak, and the condition is exacerbated as her baby grown and becomes heavier. The landlords add that they also wish access to the back yard. They also need storage area for their growing family.

The Tenants refuse

The tenants argue that the repossession is only a false pretext, and that the landlords are motivated by economic reasons, and that they are trying to increase rents. In addition, they state that the landlords are refusing to provide the unit that they – the landlords – are currently living in. They also argue that the court must interpret this refusal as proof of the landlords’ bad faith. The tenants request that the unit in which the landlords are now living should be rented to them at the same rate that the currently pay - $615 per month.

Favorable decision

The Régie du logement does not order the landlords to offer the $615 per month apartment on the third floor to the tenants. There is no provision about renting a rental unit which would allow the court t set the rent arbitrarily. The two units are not the same type according to article 1964 of the Québec civil code. The tenants’ unit is located in the basement, has an adjoining yard which is used for storage. The other unit is located on the third floor, and does not have any accessories as found in the basement. The court considers that the motives of the landlord are valid and convincing.

R.L. 31 040105 108 G, 26 April 2004

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