You have a serious sanitation problem in your dwelling, so you file a complaint with the Régie du logement. But when the Régie makes its decision, you are surprised that the decision does not talk about a big part of what you asked for: financial compensation. You know you can challenge the decision, but you're not sure how to do this.
In this article, Éducaloi explains the options available for challenging a decision of the Régie du logement and the time limits involved.
What are my options after I get a decision from the Régie du logement?
After reading the decision, you will be in one of two situations depending on whether you are the applicant or the defendant. The applicant is the person who presents a request to the Régie. The defendant is the person opposing the request.
- You accept the decision and want it to be carried out.
- You are unhappy with the decision and want to challenge it.
- You do what the Régie ordered.
- You are unhappy with the decision and want to challenge it.
What can I do if I want to challenge the Régie du logement's decision?
You can do one of the following:
- Request the Régie to correct, cancel (also called "revoke") or review its decision.
- Appeal the decision to a higher court called the Court of Quebec. To appeal means that you ask this court to change the Régie's decision.
You must obtain permission from a judge of the Court of Quebec to appeal. Some cases cannot be appealed. For example, you can't appeal a decision if the claim before the Régie was for an amount of $15,000 or less.
- Ask for a review of the Régie's decision by the Superior Court of Quebec.
What does it mean to get a decision corrected and how do I do this?
Correction means to correct an error made by the Régie. For example, the Régie might have made a calculation error, forgotten to sign the decision, or failed to make a decision on part of the request presented to it.
You cannot request a correction in these cases:
- your case is being appealed or reviewed
- the Régie's decision has been carried out in whole or in part
To get a correction, go to the Régie du logement with a certified copy of the decision or call the Régie. The Régie can correct the error right away if you have clearly identified it. You will receive the corrected decision by mail.
Other kinds of errors require a thorough analysis. If that is the case, you must fill out an application for correction and pay a fee. You will be reimbursed this fee if the Régie finds that you were right about the error.
Your must make your request for a correction within 30 days of the date of the Régie's decision.
What is revocation and how can I request this?
Revocation means asking the Régie du logement to cancel its decision and make a new one. You can ask for revocation if:
- You could not be at the hearing at the Régie because of fraud, an event beyond your control or for any other reason the Régie thinks is a good reason, and you think the decision would have been different if you had been able to attend.
- You were prevented from presenting evidence at the hearing due to fraud, an event beyond your control or any other reason the Régie thinks is a good reason, and you think that the decision would have been different if you been able to present this evidence.
- The Régie failed to make a decision on part of your request.
- The Régie's decision went beyond what was asked for in the request (e.g., the Régie gave $2,000 in damages when the request was only for $1,000).
Your request for revocation must be made within 10 days from the time
- you found out about the Régie's decision, OR
- of the event preventing you from coming to the hearing or from presenting your evidence.
You have to pay a fee, but it will be reimbursed if the Régie agrees to revoke the decision.
What is a review and how can I request this?
A review means that you ask the Régie to change its decision.
Requests for review can be made in cases involving setting or changing the rent or changing another part of the lease.
Your case will be heard again by at least two judges ? called commissioners ? of the Régie.
You must make a request for a review within one month from the date of the decision. You will have to pay a fee.
In your request, make sure to include all the reasons why you disagree with the initial decision because the Régie will only listen to arguments listed in your request.
Do I need to notify the other people involved in my case about a request for correction, revocation, or review?
Yes. When you make this kind of request, you must “notify” the other side with a copy of the request. Notifying means sending a copy of the request to the other side so that she knows about and can prepare for the hearing.
You can notify in various ways:
- bailiff (the notification will then be called « service »)
- registered mail
- certified mail
- any other way that lets you prove the other people involved got a copy
If you think the opposing side might not pick up an application served by registered or certified mail, it could be a good idea to serve it by bailiff.
If I miss the deadline by a few days because I was sick, can I still challenge the decision?
Sometimes. The time limit for challenging a decision of the Régie du logement can be extended if you can give a good reason for the extension and it does not cause any major harm to the other side.
What about an appeal to the Court of Quebec?
When you cannot apply for correction, revocation, or review of a decision made by the Régie, you can usually appeal the decision to the Court of Quebec.
The right to appeal a Régie decision to the Court of Quebec is not automatic. First, you must submit a document asking the court for permission to appeal. This document must be delivered by bailiff or registered mail to the opposing side and filed in the office of the court within 30 days of the date of the Régie decision.
The following decisions cannot be appealed:
- decisions about setting or changing the rent or changing another part of the lease
- decisions where the only thing in issue in the case is the recovery of $15,000 or less
- decisions about the sale of parts a housing complex, conversion of a building into divided co-ownership, and demolition of a dwelling
- decisions on requests to deposit the rent with the court instead of paying it to the landlord
In appeals before the Court of Quebec, the court can decide to hear the whole case again. But it is also possible that you will be given permission to only argue certain aspects of the Régie's decision and not others. You must therefore make sure to present the appropriate evidence and arguments to the judge.
The legal process before the Court of Quebec is generally more complex and expensive than before the Régie. Do not hesitate to consult a legal professional if necessary.
What is a review by the Superior Court?
The Superior Court has a special power to supervise other Quebec courts and tribunals.
Because of this power, you can ask the Superior Court to review a Régie decision when you are in one of these situations:
- The Régie made a decision that went beyond its power to make decisions.
- There was something so wrong in the process that it resulted in injustice.
- The person making the decision at the Régie did something illegal or abused her authority to such an extent that the hearing became a ?fraud?. In other words, whatever this person did or said resulted in an obvious injustice.
For example, let's imagine that a landlord asks the Régie du logement to increase the rent and change the lease to let him take back the garage. The Régie agrees to change the lease and increase the rent, but also adjusts the rent to take into account the tenant's loss of the use of the garage.
Unhappy with the loss of the garage, the tenant convinces the Régie to review and change its own decision. But the Régie du logement is only allowed to review decisions that set the rent and this decision involved not only the rent, but also the use of the garage. The landlord can ask the Superior Court to review the Régie's second decision on the grounds that the Régie had no power to make it.
The review process is complicated and can be expensive. For help, consult a legal professional.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.