Heating and Rental Housing

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Your lease says the landlord is responsible for heating your apartment. When must the landlord turn on the heat? Is there a minimum temperature that must be maintained? What can you do if the landlord doesn’t provide enough heat?

 

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. However, the landlord must maintain an appropriate temperature at all times.

This means that your 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.

 

Can my landlord take action against me if she believes my heating costs are too high?

Yes. If you are heating too much, your landlord can file a complaint with the Régie du logement. The landlord can ask for the following:

  • have you lower the room temperature
  • have you pay for the excess heating
  • to cancel the lease

There are reasons that you might be using a lot of heat. For example, it is possible that the apartment is poorly insulated or that the outside temperature was far below the normal seasonal temperature. The Régie du logement will decide if you behaved reasonably given the circumstances.

 

What can I do if the heating system breaks down?

If the heat shuts down and it is really cold outside, you should immediately tell your landlord. When it is an emergency, you aren’t required to send a written notice: a verbal one is enough.

However, a written notice with proof that the landlord received it can help protect your rights: it can show that you informed the landlord of the problem. You should consider doing both: speaking to your landlord about the problem immediately and then confirming it in writing!

If the landlord fails to react or is away, you can make the necessary purchases and get the repairs done yourself. If it is an emergency situation, you will probably have a right a full reimbursement of any reasonable expenses. Make sure to keep receipts for expenses.

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.

 

What can I do if the landlord doesn't put on enough heat?

  • Inform the landlord that you are not satisfied (verbally or in writing).
  • Give the landlord a reasonable amount of time to fix the situation.
  • If nothing is done, send him a demand letter. For more information on this subject, see our article Demand Letters.

If the landlord still fails to fix the situation, you 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).

Important !
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.