Airbnb-type rentals are regularly in the news. Are you familiar with all broker obligations in these situations?
Although leasing is no longer an act reserved for real estate brokers, the fact remains that any real estate brokerage licensee – whether the licence is issued in Quebec or another jurisdiction – who carries out real estate leasing brokerage transactions in Quebec is subject to all the obligations arising from the Real Estate Brokerage Act. Therefore, by dealing with a broker for this type of transaction, the lessee or the lessor benefit from protection mechanisms provided by the Act.
The Civil Code of Québec grants several rights to the lessee of a dwelling, including the right to maintain occupancy. Basically, this right allows the lessee to occupy the dwelling for as long as he wishes. This means he can only be evicted under very specific circumstances provided in the law. The sale of the immovable does not impact this right, which the new owner must uphold. Not only does the lessee have the right to stay in his dwelling for the duration of the initial lease, but he is also entitled to the automatic renewal of the lease (renewal of right) at term. At term, the lease is renewed for the same period or, if the initial term was more than a year, for a period of 12 months.
Concerning the payment of rent, section 1904 of the Civil Code of Quebec provides that:
“The lessor may not exact any instalment in excess of one month's rent; he may not exact payment of rent in advance for more than the first payment period or, if that period exceeds one month, payment of more than one month's rent.
Nor may he exact any amount of money other than the rent, in the form of a deposit or otherwise, or demand that payment be made by postdated cheque or any other postdated instrument.”
There is a method of acquiring real estate that all real estate brokers must acquaint themselves with. It is a process, sometimes called ''securitization'', by which a buyer acquires, on the one hand, a number of shares in a corporation (formerly called company) whose main asset is an immovable and, on the other hand, under a leasing agreement inseparable from the share acquisition agreement, the exclusive use of a given apartment in the immovable. The buyer then holds all rights of use to this apartment and may, in principle, occupy it or lease it. In this type of transaction, the acquisition of shares is therefore indivisible from the right to occupy an apartment specifically tied to the shares acquired.