The landlord's request to repossess the housing is granted even though relations with the tenant have been more strained in recent months

Article locked Published on by Me Robert Soucy

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.

The landlord's request to repossess the housing is granted even though relations with the tenant have been more strained in recent months

The landlord has submitted a request for permission to repossess the housing occupied by the tenant. On December 13, 2020, the landlord advised the tenant that he intended to return to the unit for housing purposes as of July 1, 2021. On January 9, 2020, within the time limit set out in section 1962 of the Québec Civil Code, the tenant gave notice to the landlord that she was refusing to leave the premises. The landlord then applied for repossession of the housing.

The facts

The dwelling is a 4 1/2 rooms apartment located on the 2nd floor of a triplex whose ground floor includes a 5 1/2 rooms housing that is occupied by the landlord. The basement includes a third small dwelling and storage space for the landlord.

The landlord testified that he bought his building in 1992. At that time no dwellings were rented and the landlord had been divorced for 3 years. He and his ex-wife had joint custody of the children. The landlord occupied the entire building until 1997.

From 1997 to 2003, the landlord lived there with a new partner and the couple continued to occupy the entire house. In 2003, at the age of 65, he left the firm where he was associated as both an engineer and a certified evaluator. He continued his professional activities on his own from the house where he worked from the spaces occupied by the tenant today. In 2005, the landlord slowed down his professional activities to the point where he was no longer using the upstairs space.

So he decided to rent that space. After living alone for a long time, he had begun a life together with a new partner since 2018. The new couple chose to make a first one-year attempt before the new partner moved all her property into the landlord’s house. In 2019, the couple concludes that they would like to spend their days together. The landlord reportedly would have wanted to ask for repossession of the housing in July 2020, but he underwent a major heart operation in November 2019 with a long, six-month recovery period, which changed his plans.

The landlord testified that his housing was too small for the couple and all their belongings. He shows that the tenant's dwelling has a living space of some 683.4 square feet. His ground floor dwelling is of the same size, plus the size of a 177-square-foot solarium. He testified that the couple would like to have a second bedroom, a second bathroom, a second office, a second wardrobe and also more storage space, especially for the installation of exercise equipment for fitness training. He had planned to expand the ground floor but he abandoned the project.

The landlord's new partner also testified and explained that after travelling extensively with her spouse during the early years of their dating, they both found that with age and the pandemic, they spent much more time at home than before. The new partner also explains that she has remained an active woman and would like to resume her sewing and painting activities. But there is not enough space for the installation of her sewing machine or her easel, her canvases and her tubes of paint. She complains that she can't bring her off-season clothes that she had to leave in her previous housing which is now occupied by her daughter. She must therefore transfer her seasonal clothes from one dwelling to another, each season.
The tenant's defence

In her defence, the tenant alleges that she refused a rent increase in March 2020 for the period from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, and that since that refusal, her relations with the couple have deteriorated and more specifically her relationship with the landlord.

The tenant obtained the minutes of a meeting of the City of Saint-Lambert's Urban Planning Advisory Committee, which rejected an initial expansion project on August 26, 2020. On November 18, 2020, the committee recommended approving the new version of the plan presented for the expansion and transformation of the façade. It states that the enlargement will measure 4 feet and 11 inches in lateral projection at a depth of 18 feet and 3 inches.

The tenant states that, in her opinion, the couple does not have the necessary fitness and health to climb the additional 14 steps to access her housing. According to her, the repossession of the housing is an excuse to get rid of a tenant who has become disturbing. As proof she states that the landlord could expand his dwelling by reclaiming the small housing located in the basement.

The landlord's reply

The landlord and his partner explained that in order to comply with all the requirements of the Urban Planning Advisory Committee, the expansion allowed was only of minor size, while the necessary budget had exploded to $100,000.

The extension in the basement would not provide the same brightness as the upstairs dwelling. The spouse adds that it was true that when she was carrying packages, she no longer had the same agility when climbing stairs, but that her ability to climb an internal staircase to gain access to the upper floor of her current dwelling could not be questioned.

Analysis and Decision

The tenant submitted a number of e-mail exchanges between herself and the landlord since March 2020, dealing with the increase of the rent requested by the landlord. This was followed by a certain innuendo and a series of requests from each of the parties: reimbursement requested by the landlord for the cost of replacing a floor covering, for the plumbing of a toilet, for the repair of the dishwasher, a discussion by the parties on the building regulations and the location of a gas barbecue, the installation of an air conditioner, etc. According to the Tribunal, reading these e-mail exchanges shows that there was indeed an escalation of tension, but that the landlord cannot be blamed solely in this case, since many of his points of view seemed entirely legitimate.

Therefore, the administrative judge concluded:

“On the one hand, it is more than conceivable that a couple aged 75 and 80 with some economic comfort should choose not to confine themselves within an 860.4 square foot dwelling (including the 177-square-foot solarium) and to limit themselves to a single wardrobe and a one-bedroom dwelling. It is also quite conceivable that this couple, after considering the option of a ground floor expansion decides that an expenditure of $100,000 to increase the size of their dwelling by only about 100 additional feet which clearly does not meet the needs of the couple, rejects this option and instead chooses to repossess the 2nd floor apartment in order to then have a total living space of 1543.8 square feet (plus the storage room already existing in the cellar).”1

The Tribunal concludes that the landlord has demonstrated that he really intends to repossess the dwelling for the purposes mentioned in his notice of repossession and that this is not an excuse to achieve other purposes. The request for repossession is granted to the landlord and the compensation payable to the tenant has been set at $1800 and the Tribunal has authorized the tenant to compensate the severance pay from the rents payable from May 15, 2021 to July 15, 2021.

1. Marois c. Vaillancourt, TAL de Longeuil, no dossier : 552 970 37 202101196; juge administrative, Me Danielle Deland.

0 Response(s) to “The landlord's request to repossess the housing is granted even though relations with the tenant have been more strained in recent months”

Leave a reply