Real Estate

Dishonest Landlord - Stuck in Lease

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 6th, 2017 10:15 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 6, 2017
22 posts

Dishonest Landlord - Stuck in Lease

Hi folks. I am currently living in Quebec with my girlfriend. We have been planning to leave Quebec for over a year now. Our landlord visited us in January and asked us to sign a form which he told us was about rent increase and for income tax returns. He did not mention that it was a renewal of our lease. We gave him our 3 months notice to leave at the end of June which he has told is too late and that we are now tied into a contract until June 2018. We are both extremely angry at ourselves for trusting what he told us and at him for sneaking this past us knowing full well that French is our second language and we might not fully understand the paper we were signing.

So, we're looking for a way out. We need to leave the country in the summer to move to the UK, and feel that this has been sneakily pushed past us. We never would have signed if we'd realised it was a lease renewal because we had no intention of staying after our lease ended.

I understand that we should have had someone read this for us if we did not fully comprehend it, but that time has passed and I'm looking for a solution.
26 replies
Deal Fanatic
May 1, 2012
9073 posts
7393 upvotes
Markham
Nothing you can do. You signed the document.

You can take him to court and somehow prove that you were tricked into signing it, but good luck on that.

The best case I can think of for you is to simply find another tenant for the landlord and work out a settlement. Perhaps pay him to let the new tenant stay for the duration of your lease. You will most likely incur a lot of costs, but that's about as good as it gets.

Alternatively, if you're straight up moving to the UK and not coming back... well... I don't think it's nice but you could just go.... not like this is going to follow you to the UK.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 11, 2008
9891 posts
1443 upvotes
Realistically, if you just pick up and leave, he can't get to you since you are in another country. Unless I am wrong about the legalities.

Does Quebec have a landlord/tenant board like Ontario?
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 6, 2017
22 posts
Well my girlfriend is Canadian, and we will be coming back after a year or so. I can't imagine that this will just disappear.

Quebec has the Regie du Logement.
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 6, 2017
22 posts
The one thing that has always annoyed us about living here is that the person next door smokes a lot of pot. Sometimes the smell comes through our cooker extract hood, and we can smell it when we leave the apartment and walk past their windows. I was wondering if this would form some basis for breaking the lease?
Member
Oct 26, 2007
240 posts
122 upvotes
Just leave when you wish and possibly lose your last months rent deposit (if he has one), small chance he'll try taking you to court, how is he going to serve you court papers when your not in the country. Other option is to stop paying rent now altogether, live free for a couple months to stick it to him, he will be happy to see you leave. Not sure about Quebec, but in Ontario tenants have the upper hand.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 3, 2011
2823 posts
16004 upvotes
Review the contract - there might be a place where the contract states terminating the lease early and the consequences and how much time you need to give prior to terminating the lease. Also call up the "Regie du Logement" and find out if they can lead you in the right direction. Just because you signed a lease doesn't mean that it can't be broken, there are all sorts of reasons why people cannot comply and fulfill their contracts. What if a person get's extradited, do you think the country will care of a signed lease agreement and keep you here?

If there is no rule in the contract that states about terminating the lease early, then you should be in the free and clear to break it and give him no notice and just leave him in the dust (not the appropriate thing to do).
Banned
Nov 18, 2014
824 posts
769 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Trash his place and take off. There's nothing he can do.
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2005
3822 posts
1133 upvotes
Ottawa
Not sure what the rules are in QC but in ON you can assign the lease and the landlord cannot prevent you doing this without good reason. It may be in the landlord's ​best interest to accept that you're leaving and find a suitable replacement tenant himself rather than being stuck with a tenant of your choosing.

Ignore the suggestions of abandoning or trashing your unit. These dudes are just crazy. And yes you can be held accountable for your actions even if you've left the country.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jul 17, 2008
10087 posts
2711 upvotes
speedyforme wrote: Realistically, if you just pick up and leave, he can't get to you since you are in another country. Unless I am wrong about the legalities.

Does Quebec have a landlord/tenant board like Ontario?
negotiater wrote: Just leave when you wish and possibly lose your last months rent deposit (if he has one), small chance he'll try taking you to court, how is he going to serve you court papers when your not in the country. Other option is to stop paying rent now altogether, live free for a couple months to stick it to him, he will be happy to see you leave. Not sure about Quebec, but in Ontario tenants have the upper hand.
Many downvotes, but yes I agree with this. Since he was an arse and tricked you, I would just pack up and leave, he can't do anything especially since you leave the city. Just make sure the next place you rent (if you will rent) will not ask you for last landlord reference. don't know how Quebec is, but in many provinces, the tenant has a lot of power, and typically it takes the landlord over 3 months to evict you. If the landlord likes to play with fire, I would play with fire back at him. Just stop paying the rent, and live 2 months without paying the rent. Then you can leave after. Yes, theoretically he can sue you, but good luck to him finding you, doing all the legal proceedings, etc.
rkanwar109 wrote: Trash his place and take off. There's nothing he can do.
While I would almost agree with this because the landlord is so nasty, I would advise against.
Deal Addict
Apr 21, 2014
2136 posts
887 upvotes
Alberta
Anikiri wrote: Nothing you can do. You signed the document.

You can take him to court and somehow prove that you were tricked into signing it, but good luck on that.

The best case I can think of for you is to simply find another tenant for the landlord and work out a settlement. Perhaps pay him to let the new tenant stay for the duration of your lease. You will most likely incur a lot of costs, but that's about as good as it gets.

Alternatively, if you're straight up moving to the UK and not coming back... well... I don't think it's nice but you could just go.... not like this is going to follow you to the UK.
Based on contract law you have to be competent, have the capacity etc etc. if French is not your first language and the landlord purposely misrepresented the facts the contract could be voidable. You will have to get a lawyer though.
Deal Addict
May 12, 2014
2243 posts
1795 upvotes
Montreal
chipsto wrote: ... sign a form which he told us was about rent increase ... We gave him our 3 months notice to leave at the end of June which he has told is too late and that we are now tied into a contract until June 2018. [...] I'm looking for a solution.
What did the form look like? Was it the official Quebec rental board form? That one certainly contains the new "end date".

When, exactly, did you give him your 3 month notice? Before or after March 31st? By registered mail?

Your best bet is to find a sub-lessee to take over your lease. This would liberate you completely.

If you decide to stop paying rent, he can file a claim after 3 weeks and list your current address. No need to track you down in England. It will then be up to you to provide your new address. If you don't, and if you don't show up to the trial, you will lose.

In Quebec, judgments can be renewed such that they stay good "forever".
Deal Addict
May 12, 2014
2243 posts
1795 upvotes
Montreal
negotiater wrote: ..., how is he going to serve you court papers when your not in the country...
He can serve by email.
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 6, 2017
22 posts
We advertised the apartment last night and had a fair bit of interest already, so I'm hoping we'll find somebody to take over the lease.

I'm still mad at the landlord though. I asked our neighbours and they said he told them the same thing, that it was a tax form and not a lease renewal. I'm thinking about writing a statement to get all my neighbours to sign, along with the tenants of his other buildings and report him to the Regie. He's annoyed me and I just want to make his life difficult!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 3, 2011
2823 posts
16004 upvotes
chipsto wrote: We advertised the apartment last night and had a fair bit of interest already, so I'm hoping we'll find somebody to take over the lease.

I'm still mad at the landlord though. I asked our neighbours and they said he told them the same thing, that it was a tax form and not a lease renewal. I'm thinking about writing a statement to get all my neighbours to sign, along with the tenants of his other buildings and report him to the Regie. He's annoyed me and I just want to make his life difficult!
Get the news media involved - make him look like the bad guy to write his wrongs.

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