Unsanitary living conditions are unfortunately all too prevalent in Montreal. Our own Lena Slanisky reported today that an apartment complex in Cote-des-Neiges is infested with cockroaches, bed bugs, and is embroiled in a dispute over garbage. For many Montrealers, this is their reality.
Our city is a hub for students and workers from abroad and many don't know what rights they have regarding sanitation. Even locals might not be completely aware of their tenant's rights.
Montrealers need to know that the law is on their side when it comes to living in unsanitary conditions. If your landlord is giving you grief over garbage or pest infestations, here's what you need to know.
If you constantly have to deal with infestations and garbage problems in your building, you first need to know about the Régie du Logement.
It's a commission that protects the rights of tenants in Quebec "in order to promote more harmonious relations between lessors and lessees and ensure that each party complies with the obligations arising from the lease".
As defined by the Régie, unsanitary living conditions "refers to situations that may cause the dwelling to be in poor habitable condition or unfit for habitation."
- Mould or fungus
- Vermin (e.g., cockroaches, bedbugs or ants)
- Rodents (e.g., rats or mice)
- Excessive humidity or contaminated air
If you're thinking about your own apartment when reading all that, you might have to take some legal recourse. Though not all dwellings in unsanitary conditions are unfit to live in, it's up to your landlord to ensure your living space isn't detrimental to your health and well-being.
Once the Régie files a report with you, it's your responsibility to provide evidence and file a grievance with your landlord or building authority.
If the Régie finds that your dwelling is indeed uninhabitable and unsanitary, your landlord must carry out renovations or cleaning within a certain number of days or will be liable to face a minimum fine of $5000. In the most egregious cases, both a work order and a maximum fine of $25,000 will be imposed.
The City of Montreal also goes to great lengths to protect the tenant's rights in sanitation cases. According to their official website, the Service de la mise en valeur du territoire (SMVT) has been mandated to implement and action plan to enforce sanitation laws.
In all, Montreal tenants have two excellent governmental resources to help them combat unsanitary and unsafe living conditions.
To file a report with the Régie du Logement, please click here.
To know when your borough's garbage collection is, please visit the city's official website.