Often the landlords are disappointed to know that, unless there is an agreement, they will have to open a case at the Régie du logement in order to obtain the termination of the lease and/or the eviction of the tenant from the housing. Indeed, even during a termination agreement of a duly signed lease or a notice of non-renewal, a landlord cannot evict a tenant himself by changing the locks and putting him/her in the street. Indeed, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms clearly stipulates that everyone has the right to respect for his private life, the peaceful enjoyment and free disposition of his property and, finally, that the home is inviolable. There is a procedure at the Régie du logement, if the tenant remains on the premises, which is that we must seek the eviction of squatters.
Indeed, as I said, we can not do justice ourselves. The following decision is a concrete example of multiple elements prohibited by law. In a recent case1, a tenant claims nearly $ 20 000 in damages from the owner.
According to the judgment, at a job loss, a tenant notifies his landlady that he would have payment difficulties. A few months later, he notices that the door locks had been changed and that the electric wiring of television and telephone had been cut. He then receives a visit from the landlady who informs him that his property will be thrown out in the snow if he did not pay the rent due. No sooner said than done, the tenant realizes in January that all his possessions were thrown from the 2nd floor into the snow, many of which were damaged. According to the judgment, he then claims $ 12,296 for loss of his movable property, $ 2000 for drastic and illegal unilateral termination of the lease and also $ 5 000 for the infringement of his privacy and unlawful entry into his home.
In this case, the owners allege on their part that there was an agreement to terminate the lease, and that the tenant had said that he would leave and that he owed them a sum of $ 1,555.
In addition, the judgment details that some effects of the tenant remained in the same place on the ground for two months. However, in this judgment the photos showed that the goods thrown out from the second floor were broken or torn by the fall. Some goods had also been stolen.
The tenant was left without housing, but also stripped of his furniture and his various assets.
The Judge granted the right to punitive damages due to behaviour deemed unacceptable on the part of the landlady. Indeed, the Judge stated that: “The fault of the defendant as lessor of a dwelling can hardly be more serious when she changes the locks of a housing and expels the tenant while dealing with his household effects illegally.”
The landlady was then sentenced to pay the tenant a sum of $ 12,000.
1 Danis v. Beauchemin (R.D.L. 2013-01-31)