Key Quebec Tenants Rights To Know If You Wanna Stay Warm When It's Freezing AF This Winter
Winter is coming... is your heating good to go? 🥶
It's that crisp yet anxiety-inducing time of year when jean jackets turn into puffy parkas and caps turn into toques. While we can't control the weather, the province's rental board is reminding Quebec renters of their rights when it comes to controlling the heat in their apartments.
Here's what you need to know about keeping warm in your rental property, according to the Tribunal administratif du logement.
What's my responsibility and what's my landlord's responsibility?
Your landlord is legally required to "maintain an appropriate room temperature regardless of the time of year," the Tribunal says.
The landlord must also keep the heating in good working order at all times and they're required by law to take action if the heating system fails or breaks down. Actually, if the problem can't be fixed in a timely manner, your landlord needs to provide you with another source of heating like a space heater.
That said, it's the renter's responsibility to "prevent damage" by maintaining an adequate temperature and not overheating the unit. The renter also has to use the heating equipment properly.
"For example, it is possible to air a room for a few minutes without leaving the windows open for several hours," the Tribunal says in a press release.
It's also the renter's job to let their landlord know if the heat goes out in the middle of winter. And if you can't get reach them, you may have to step in to resolve the problem temporarily.
"The lessee may either repair the heating system or fill the heating oil tank, as this is an urgent situation and the repair or expense is necessary in order to maintain or enjoy the dwelling," the Tribunal says.
But, of course, you are entitled to be reimbursed for any reasonable expenses.
Either the landlord or the renter may be responsible for paying for heat, depending on what was agreed upon in your lease.
What's considered an 'appropriate room temperature'?
While the law and most municipal bylaws don't specify an exact temperature, the Tribunal says it's generally accepted that the indoor temperature should be kept to 21 C during the winter.
What date must the heat be turned on?
There is no specific date for when the heating must be turned on.
"The weather in Quebec being what it is, it would be arbitrary to pick a specific date – sometimes it can be freezing in May and sweltering in March," the Tribunal says.
So, regardless of the time of year, the important thing is keeping the unit at an "appropriate room temperature."
What should I do if there's a problem with the heating in my apartment?
If you let your landlord know that there's a heating problem and they still don't do anything about it, you can contact the Tribunal to find out about recourse.
The Tribunal recommends gathering witness-supported evidence, like taking indoor and outdoor temperature readings for a few days at the same time.
A landlord can also apply to the Tribunal to force the tenant to maintain an appropriate temperature that will prevent damage to the rental property.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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