Sharing an Apartment

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Having roommates can have its advantages: sharing costs, a bigger place to live, sharing housework, etc. But it can also lead to problems! What should you do if one of your roommates doesn’t pay her share or wants to leave?


What happens if one of your roommates doesn’t pay his share?

The consequences vary depending on whether you signed the lease “solidarily” or “jointly”.

If you signed the lease solidarily and one of your roommates doesn’t pay her share, the landlord can demand that you pay your roommate's unpaid share of the rent. It will then be up to you to claim the unpaid amount from your roommate.

You signed solidarily if your lease says the following:

  • The obligation is solidary.
  • You bind yourself jointly and severally.
  • You bind yourself solidarily

If you signed the lease jointly, the landlord has to claim individually from each of the roommates their share of the unpaid rent. Each tenant is therefore responsible for paying her own share.

You signed jointly if

  • your lease doesn’t say that you bind yourself solidarily.

Whether you signed jointly or solidarily, if the rent is not paid in full, the landlord can directly demand the unpaid share from the tenant who didn’t pay her share.  The landlord could also ask the Régie du logement (rental board) to cancel the lease in either of these two situations:

  • The payment is three or more weeks late.
  • The delays are frequent and cause him serious harm.

In these situations, even if you regularly pay your share, the cancellation of the lease applies to you too and you’ll have to leave the apartment. So if the full amount of the rent is not paid, this can have serious consequences!


One of your roommates wants to leave?

The ordinary rules of sub-leasing or assigning (transferring) a lease apply. The ordinary rules about renewal or non-renewal of the lease also apply. The Régie du logement website explains the various possibilities in these situations.


Are you just an occupant?

You have to be careful not to confuse “tenant” and “occupant”. If you are just an occupant, the rules aren’t the same.  You are a tenant if you signed the lease with other people. You’re just an occupant if you didn’t sign the lease.

The Régie du logement web site gives more information about this distinction.

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.