The presence of bugs and vermin can constitute a living nightmare for both landlords and tenants.
It is therefore in everyone’s best interest to try and prevent the proliferation of these unwanted guests.
In addition to the unwelcomed sight of crawling bugs or other vermin, their presence can lead to tensions and disputes between landlords and tenants.
It is important to note that both landlords and tenants are under an obligation to maintain the leased premises in a clean and habitable state and to respect municipal by-laws with respect to the prohibition against keeping a dwelling which fosters the proliferation of bugs and vermin
Tenants may demand a reduction in the price of rent, resiliation of the lease, or damages, if the presence of bugs and/or vermin reduces the peaceable enjoyment of one’s property. However, the mere presence of a bug here and there at sporadic intervals cannot be characterized as an infestation, and therefore, will not warrant a reduction in the price of rent or resiliation of the lease.
Moreover, if the infestation of bugs and vermin results from the tenant’s actions or inactions, the tenant may be held liable as to the cost of extermination.
A tenant must also grant access to the landlord and/or exterminator when such a work is required to eliminate the presence of bugs and vermins in the immovable, failing which, a tenant could see his lease be resiliated by the landlord.
Landlords are under an obligation of result vis-à-vis keeping an immovable free of any infestations. Meaning that the fact that a landlord was diligent in maintaining a clean and habitable immovable will be no defence to a claim seeking damages, resiliation, or specific performance.
Moreover, landlords are under an obligation to preserve the peaceable enjoyment of all tenant’s leased property. Therefore, they must do everything which is needed to prevent an infestation, and if such infestation occurs, do everything to eliminate the presence of bugs or vermins.
Consequently, Landlords must have access to a dwelling if necessary to exterminate bugs and vermins. Tenants do not have the right to refuse such access but can elect to have someone present instead of themselves during the extermination. Failure to allow access to the landlord and/or exterminator could justify the resiliation of one’s lease in addition to damages if the refusal of entry accentuated the infestation and helped the proliferation.
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The above noted text should not be construed as providing legal advice or a statement of your claim. The process highlighted above are merely parameters and barometers and do not constitute any warranties and guaranties with regards to your file at hand. We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice with a licensed attorney from the Barreau du Quebec or a notary at the Chambre des Notaires. Each case must be seen and analysed on its merits as the legal process may be complex and cumbersome.