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Assignment Of Lease Agreement Quebec

Your responsibilities as a tenant

Outside of extraordinary circumstances (please see Rights and obligations), the only legal way to get out of a lease is to sublet or transfer your lease. In certain cases, such as Joint tenancy, there may be restrictions on the right to sublet or transfer the lease.

If you are unable to sublet or assign your apartment, you are still responsible for paying rent for the duration of the lease, even if you are no longer residing in the apartment. The landlord can take legal action against you if you fail to pay the monthly rent until the end of the lease, and you could be held responsible for not only the outstanding rent, but also any legal fees the landlord may have incurred.


Vocabulary

Term

Description

SublessorThe tenant who sublets to the sub-tenant.
Sub-tenantThe person to whom the tenant sublets the dwelling.
AssignorThe tenant who is assigning his lease.
AssigneeThe person to whom the tenant assign the lease.

Subletting

Subletting applies when the person who signed the lease intends to vacate the unit for a short period of time and expects to return to it afterwards. Under a sublease, the landlord is not obliged to agree to an extension of the current lease with the sub-tenant.

If the sub-tenant wishes for any reason to file a claim with the Régie du Logement, it must be done by the person that holds the lease and not the sub-lessor.

While the landlord should be notified as to who will be sub-letting the unit, and for how long, it is the person who holds the original lease who should work out the arrangement with the sub-tenant.

Procedure

  • Start by placing an advertisement. You can use the Off Campus Housing Useful Links section for a list of other housing related sites.
  • Draft an application form to get the prospective sub-tenant to fill out, in order to do a background check and get a sense of their ability to pay the rent and maintain the dwelling. (You should ask for: their name, present address, reason for living in Montreal (study, work, etc.), and employment information).
  • Once you find the right person, send your landlord a notice of sublet.
  • You should sign a contract with the sub-tenant -- you can buy a standard lease form and fill it out as if you are the landlord and the person is your tenant, or you can draft your own contract.

Transfer/Assignment of lease

Lease transfer or assignment applies when the person who signs the lease does not intend to return to the apartment. The person hands over all his rights to the new tenant. Lease transfer releases the original tenant from all rights and responsibilities for the apartment, as of the date of the assignment.

When a lease is assigned, the new tenant assumes all the legal rights and responsibilities for the apartment and can take action against the landlord directly.

If you plan to assign the lease at the end of the school year, you will be unable to leave your possessions there during the summer, except by permission of the new tenants. Your rights to the unit are rescinded as soon as the assignment takes place.

Procedure

  • Start by letting the landlord know about your intentions to assign the lease.
  • Place an advertisement for a lease transfer. You can use the Off Campus Housing Useful Links section for a list of other housing related sites.
  • Once you find the right person, complete the Notice to Assign Your Lease
  • The landlord has 15 days to give you an answer and can only refuse with a valid reason. Legally, a landlord may only refuse to give consent to a lease assignment for a serious reason (e.g. the new tenant will be unable to pay the rent). The reason for refusal must be communicated to the tenant within 15 days of receipt of the notice to sublet or assign.
  • The Assignment of Lease Agreement is between you and the new tenant and you must give the new tenant a copy of your lease along with the Agreement of lease assignment.

Information on email scams

In your search for a sub-letter, beware of email sublet scams! Always trust your instincts if something seems too good to be true. While the details of any scam can vary, many scams in recent years have shared the following characteristics:

  • The interested "sub-letter" responds very quickly to your ad.
  • He doesn't ask to see pictures, nor does he ask any questions about move-in dates -- he seems extremely accommodating.
  • He will offer money right away in the form of a (fraudulent) MONEY ORDER, MONEYGRAM, or BANK DRAFT, but will send more than the required amount.
  • The bank will hold the money order (or other form of payment) for 5 days, but the sub-letter will pressure you to wire-transfer the balance in the meantime. He might claim they accidentally overpaid and that they urgently need you to return the extra amount. Common reasons are “my boss owes me money,” or “I need it for my plane ticket to Montreal.” DO NOT give them any money out of your own pocket.

Report any email scams to McGill’s ICS Service Desk through their website, where you can also search “Student housing fraud” in their Knowledge Database for more information on email scams.

It’s the end of August and you’ve just seen a great loft you would like to buy and move into as soon as possible. But you just signed an apartment lease a month ago and you cannot legally cancel it. What should you do? How can you avoid paying both the rent and a mortgage? Should you sublet your apartment or assign your lease?

What is the difference between subletting and assigning a lease?

An assignment happens when a tenant permanently leaves a rental unit during the course of the lease. The tenant gives up all rights as a tenant and has no further responsibilities toward the landlord.

Subletting, on the other hand, can be a temporary arrangement. By subletting your apartment, you preserve your right of occupancy: when the sublet is finished, you have the right to return. But when you sublet, you also assume some responsibilities.

Who is involved in assigning and subletting?

When a lease is assigned, three people are involved:

  • the tenant assigning the lease
  • the person taking over the lease
  • the landlord

When there is a sublet, these people are involved:

  • the person subletting a rental unit
  • the person to whom the unit is sublet (the subtenant)
  • the landlord

What does an assignment or sublet mean for the people involved?

When a lease is assigned, the person taking over the lease assumes all the rights and responsibilities of a tenant toward the landlord.

The original tenant who assigned the lease has no further rights or responsibilities toward the landlord.

In a sublet, the person to whom you sublet - the subtenant - has all the rights of a tenant, except the right of “occupancy”. This means that as the original tenant, you can return at the end of the sublease.

If you are the person subletting to a subtenant, you are still responsible for the lease and are considered a tenant with all the rights and responsibilities that involves. If the person you sublet to does not pay the rent, you are responsible for paying it.

Also, when you sublet, you assume the responsibilities of a landlord toward the subtenant.

Can I assign my lease or sublet at any time?

No. The law says that there are three situations in which you cannot assign your lease or sublet:

  • You are a student renting housing in an educational institution.
  • You are a tenant in low-rent housing.
  • Your rental unit is the main residence of your family (the place where your family carries on its daily activities).

Regarding this last point, when your rental housing is the family residence, you can only assign or sublet the lease if your spouse agrees.

For more information, on this, see our article on protection for family residences in the Families and Couples section of our website.

What steps do I have to take to assign my lease or sublet?

If you are in a situation that lets you assign your lease or sublet (see the previous question), you must send your landlord a notice of assignment or sublet, once you have found a potential tenant.

This notice must include the name and address of the potential tenant and the projected date for the assignment or sublet. You must send this notice to the landlord’s address as it appears on your lease and it must be written in the same language (French, English, etc.) as the lease.

The landlord must reply within 15 of getting your notice. The landlord cannot refuse the assignment or sublet without a good reason: proposed tenant’s inability to pay the rent, problematic behavior of this tenant, etc. This is the case even if your lease says the landlord can refuse for other reasons. If the landlord does not respond to your notice within the 15-day period, the law considers this as an acceptance of your request to assign or sublet. 

If you do not give your notice in the proper way, it usually does not have legal value. It only has legal value in one case: you prove to the Régie du logement (rental board) that the landlord did not suffer because the notice did not respect the law.

You can get a model notice on the Régie du logement website or by visiting their offices.

What can I do if my landlord refuses my request to sublet or assign the lease?

You can ask the Régie du logement (rental board) to force your landlord to accept the assignment or sublet if he has no good reason for refusing.

Keep in mind, though, that there is no point making a complaint to the Régie of you are in one of the situations when assigning or subletting is not allowed. Again, these situations are as follows:

  • You are a student renting housing in an educational institution.
  • You are a tenant in low-rent housing.
  • Your rental housing is your principal family residence and you do not have written permission from your spouse to assign or sublet it.

For more information on requests to the Régie du logement, see our article The Régie du logement.

What happens to the subtenant when a lease comes up for renewal?

When the lease is up, the original tenant has the option of returning.

But to be able to return, the original tenant, or the landlord, must give the subtenant 10-days-notice to leave. If this notice is not sent, the subtenant can stay in the dwelling and strike a new lease with the landlord.

What obligations does the original tenant have toward the subtenant?

A sublessor has several obligations toward the subtenant:

  • deliver the unit in good and clean condition
  • make sure the subtenant has peaceful enjoyment of the rental unit

Can a landlord cancel a sublet?

Yes. A landlord can ask to cancel a sublet if the subtenant causes serious inconvenience o the landlord or the occupants of the building. This could be the case, for example, if the subtenant pays the rent late or causes so much noise that other tenants complain.

A landlord in this situation can request not only the cancellation of the lease, but also compensation (money) for the harm caused.