The payment of the rent is the first obligation of the tenant. The lease should stipulate the day and the terms of payment. A reasonable period of time may be allowed to the tenant who pays his rent late . But what if a tenant is systematically late in their payments or you have to recover an unpaid rent ?
Here are 6 tips for homeowners:
First, the lease is a contract between the landlord and the tenant. It is therefore important to fill it out clearly and clearly indicate the payment terms. If this is not done, the law provides for it and requires the landlord to collect the rent in person on the 1st of the month, which can be inconvenient. Solve the problem at the source by stipulating it in the contract.
* Please note, the landlord cannot require post-dated checks. Even registered in the lease, this clause would be invalid.
Unpaid rent does not necessarily mean that the tenant is in bad faith. An oversight can happen, just as it can also happen to be in a temporary financial impasse. So if this is the case, good communication can avoid many problems. A payment agreement other than that indicated in the lease may be temporarily agreed to satisfy everyone.
A reasonable delay may be accepted and it is up to the landlord to establish their tolerance level. In the sense of the Law, a rent unpaid one day after the date entered in the lease is a rent in arrears. You can ask the Régie du logement (hereinafter, the “Régie”) to make you pay, with interest charges and the reimbursement of application fees.
If you decide to use the Régie, it is strongly recommended that you send a formal notice to the tenant beforehand. Otherwise, the application fees could be charged to you if the tenant has made his payment in the meantime within a reasonable time. In all cases of delay, non-payment or any other disorder which could lead to a dispute, it is strongly suggested to send a formal notice. Thus, you will assert the seriousness of your approach and prove that you have given the tenant a deadline to remedy the situation. Send the formal notice by registered mail or even in person, taking care to have an acknowledgment of receipt signed.
In any case, it is important to keep all the evidence and documentation related to unpaid rents and what they generate. If a tenant is systematically late in their payments , you can ask the Régie for non-payment with interest. In addition, you can request the termination of the lease and the eviction of the tenant. He will then be responsible for the loss of rent without even living there, until you find a taker. However, in this case, you must prove that these delays cause you damage. In particular, damage could be the costs associated with late mortgage payments.
Finally, a single tenant who does not pay can be very bad, even for the landlord. So, even if the delay is not repetitive, if it is more than three weeks, you can ask the Régie to cancel the lease. You can without having to prove damage. On the other hand, if the tenant pays with the costs and interests before the decision, the termination will not be possible.
[* This article generally explains the law in force in Quebec and does not constitute an opinion or a legal opinion. To find out the rules specific to your situation, write to us and we will refer you to a lawyer.]