A lease might say the landlord is responsible for heating the tenant’s apartment. But when must the landlord turn on the heat? Is there a minimum temperature that must be maintained? What can a tenant do if the landlord doesn’t provide enough heat?
Who pays for the heating?
It depends on what the lease says. When the lease is signed, the landlord and tenant decide who pays for things like heating and electricity. To find out who pays, check the lease.
When must landlords turn on the heat?
The law does not set a date when landlords must start heating. The rules of common sense apply. This is because it can be cold in September and hot in March. But the landlord must maintain an appropriate temperature at all times.
This means that a landlord cannot enforce a statement in the lease indicating a date when the heat will be turned on. This kind of statement is not valid.
What minimum temperature must be maintained?
There is no minimum temperature in the law. Nevertheless, the Régie du logement (rental board) says that it is generally accepted that the temperature cannot fall below a certain level - around 21 degrees Celsius - in normal weather conditions.
Must tenants heat their apartments when they are away?
Yes. If the tenant is responsible for heating, an adequate temperature must be maintained to prevent the pipes from bursting and damaging the apartment. For example, tenants who are away on vacation must still heat their apartments. If not, the landlord can file a complaint with the Régie du logement.
What can a tenant do if the heating system breaks down?
If the heat shuts down and it is really cold outside, the tenant should immediately tell your landlord
In addition to calling the landlord, the tenant can send a written notice with proof that the landlord received it: it can show that the tenant informed the landlord of the problem. The tenant should consider doing both: speaking to the landlord about the problem immediately and then confirming it in writing!
If the heating system breaks down, the landlord must still make sure that the tenant can be comfortable and that the building is not damaged. If the situation cannot be fixed immediately, the landlord can use temporary solutions, such as a generator.
If the landlord fails to react or is away, the tenant can make the necessary purchases so the repairs can be done. If it is an emergency situation, the tenant can ask for a full reimbursement of any reasonable costs. to the tenant should keep receipts to prove the expenses.
What can a tenant do if the landlord doesn’t put on enough heat?
If the landlord is responsible for heating the apartment, the tenant can do these things:
- Inform the landlord that there is not enough heat (verbally or in writing).
- Give the landlord a reasonable amount of time to fix the situation.
- If nothing is done, send the landlord a demand letter.
If the landlord still fails to fix the situation, the tenant can file a complaint with the Régie du logement (rental board). For further information, see our article Hearings at the Régie du logement (rental board).
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.