Deposit claimed, lease signed, landlord liable for damages

Article locked Published on by Martin A. Messier

Topic(s): Legal

Note aux lecteurs : Ces articles sont des résumés de décisions rendues dans les affaires citées. Veuillez noter qu'il ne s'agit pas d'une revue de la jurisprudence et que d'autres décisions peuvent être rendues par la suite ou être différentes et changer l'état du droit. C'est également le cas si les faits ne sont pas les mêmes que ceux présentés dans l'affaire mentionnée.

In a recent case heard by the Tribunal Administratif du logement (1) the TAL had to rule on the existence of a lease for the dwelling and on the issue of damages claimed by the tenant and the reimbursement of one month's rent deposit, which had been paid in the amount of $580, at the time the lease was signed.

In this case, the tenant argued that a lease existed, even though the landlord had not given him a copy.

According to the facts reported at the hearing, the landlord had decided to verify the tenant's ability to pay and his credit history by conducting a credit investigation, but after the lease had been signed.

The tenant testified that since the landlord refused, following the signing of the lease, to give her the keys, she had to live with her parents with her new spouse, who was also a tenant. The tenants claimed that they suffered damages, and claimed $5000 to compensate for the troubles and inconveniences resulting from the situation.

The lease may be verbal or written

In its analysis, the Tribunal noted that a lease can be verbal or written and that it is up to the person who wishes to prove its existence to do establish that there is a lease and the conditions. The Tribunal therefore considered that the landlord had not respected his commitments despite the existence of a lease, and that he must reimburse the tenant for the amount received as a deposit, thus deeming abusive the clause in the lease that provides that the last month's payment will not be reimbursed if the contract is not respected, since it constitutes a penalty without regard to the direct damages actually suffered by the landlord.

As for the $5,000 in damages claimed by the tenant, the Court noted that the evidence was deficient as to the amount of damages suffered and nevertheless used its discretionary power to order the landlord to pay an additional $500 in damages.

As this example shows, signing a lease has consequences for both parties. It is therefore risky to sign a lease, even if in the minds of many, the fact that the document is not handed over constitutes a protection for the landlord, witch it was not in this case.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information. We also invite you to follow the training sessions presented for members of the Association des propriétaires du Québec (APQ).

(1) Tremblay v. Tremblay 2021 QCTAL 15584

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