In Québec, a rental agreement is generally based on a formal written contract – the lease – signed by the tenant and the landlord. Both parties must comply with their obligations under the lease. Signing the lease is an important formality, because it forms a contract that determines the respective responsibilities and commitments of the landlord and the tenant.
When the lease is signed, the landlord can only demand the payment of the first rent instalment, generally for one month. The landlord cannot demand a deposit for the keys or to cover possible damages, and must make the apartment available on the date stipulated in the lease.
A lease can only be cancelled if both parties agree, and in certain exceptional circumstances provided for by law. Before moving out, the tenant must give the landlord notice. For a one-year lease, notice must be given between three and six months before the expiry of the lease; if this is not done, the lease will be renewed on the same conditions for a further year. For a shorter lease, the notice period may be shorter.
For more information…
The Régie du logement du Québec (Québec rent board) offers an (French only) that is widely used by landlords.