Terminating a residential lease in the event of spousal violence or sexual aggression

The Civil Code has allowed a tenant to terminate her/his residential lease if:

  • her/his safety or that of a child living with her/him is threatened as a result of domestic violence on the part of a spouse or a former spouse, or as a result of sexual aggression, even on the part of someone who is neither a spouse or a former spouse;
  • terminating her/his lease would ensure her/his safety or that of a child living with the tenant.

Only the person who signed the lease can terminate it. People who live in the apartment with the person who signed the lease but who have not sign it can leave the apartment without asking for permission.

The lease will be terminated as a result of domestic violence or sexual assault two months after a termination notice has been sent to the lessor, or one month after the notice has been sent in the case of a lease for an undetermined period or lasting less than 12 months.

In all cases, the lease shall be terminated prior to the end of this period if the apartment is re-leased or if the parties agree otherwise.

To terminate a lease, the tenant should send the lessor the two following documents:

  • a notice of resiliation of lease because of spousal violence or sexual aggression;
  • an attestation from a public officer indicating that it is necessary to terminate the lease to ensure the tenant’s safety or that of a child who lives with the tenant.

The notice to terminate a lease because of spousal violence or sexual aggression is a document in which the tenant asks the landlord to terminate a residential lease in effect for reasons of spousal violence or sexual aggression. This request must be made using the form entitled Notice of resiliation of lease because of spousal violence or sexual aggression.

This attestation is a document in which a public officer designated by the Justice Minister acknowledges that terminating the lease is a measure needed to ensure the safety of the lessee or that of a child living with the tenant.

To obtain an attestation from a public officer, the tenant must submit three documents:

The tenant must send these three documents to the bureau du Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales for the courthouse in her/his municipality.

The request will be handled confidentially by one of the public officers designated by the Justice Minister.

The tenant can obtain the form entitled Notice of resiliation of lease because of spousal violence or sexual aggression from the Régie du logement.

The form entitled Request for an attestation for the purpose of resiliating a lease on grounds of violence or sexual assault, can also be obtained at the bureau du Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales for the courthouse for her/his municipality as well as from one of the following sites:

  • police department;
  • crime victims assistance centre (CAVAC);
  • assistance centre for victims of sexual assault (CALACS);
  • shelter;
  • a health and social services network facility (hospital, health and social services centre, youth centre).

Excerpt from the Civil Code of Québec

Article 1974.1 A lessee may resiliate the current lease if, because of the violent behaviour of a spouse or former spouse or because of a sexual aggression, even by a third person, the safety of the lessee or of a child living with the lessee is threatened.

The resiliation takes effect two months after a notice is sent to the lessor or one month after the notice is sent if the lease is for an indeterminate term or a term of less than 12 months. However, the resiliation takes effect before the two-month or one-month period expires if the parties so agree or when the dwelling, having been vacated by the lessee, is re-leased by the lessor during that same period.

The notice must be sent with an attestation from a public servant or public officer designated by the Minister of Justice, who, on examining the lessee's affidavit that there exists a situation involving violence or sexual aggression, and other factual elements or documents supporting the lessee's statement provided by persons in contact with the victims, considers that the resiliation of the lease is a measure that will ensure the safety of the lessee or of a child living with the lessee. The public servant or public officer must act promptly.

If part of the rent covers the cost of services of a personal nature provided to the lessee or to a child of the lessee who lives with the lessee, the lessee is only required to pay that part of the rent that relates to the services which were provided before he or she vacated the dwelling. The same applies to the cost of such services if they are provided by the lessor under a contract separate from the lease.

For more information

Request for an attestation for the purpose of resiliating a lease

Notice of resiliation of lease because of spousal violence or sexual aggression form

Crime victims assistance centres (CAVACs)

The Shelters

The regroupement québécois des CALACS

The health and social services network

Domestic Violence

 S.O.S. violence conjugale

 The addresses and telephone numbers of Québec courthouses

The judicial district a municipality is located in

The federal Policy Centre for Victim Issues

 The community legal centre in your region

Laws relating to assistance for victims of crime

Retourner en haut