Understanding lease assignmentsPublished on 2016-11-13 by Hélène Chebroux
Filed under: Tenants
Transferring a lease and subletting are quite common, the number of individuals who have to move frequently within short time frames is increasing, whether due to moving abroad, purchasing a home, or any other reason. It is worth noting that these are public order rights, in other words, no one may prevent you from subletting or from transferring your lease, as long, of course as you follow the procedures prescribed by the law. However, not many people really possess the right information on lease transfers and subletting their accommodation.
What is the required procedure for a lease assignment?
First of all, you have to be quite open with your landlord/landlady: let them know as soon as you find out that you need to move
You will be responsible for finding a replacement tenant to move into your rented accommodation: take a few photos, place an advert on Kijiji or any other web platform, pass it across on social networks, in other words, you would need to carry out the necessary marketing for finding a prospective tenant just like your landlord/landlady would have had to. You would need to take into account the fact that the off-peak period (October to April) will be more difficult in terms of finding tenants. Repost your adverts regularly and hold viewings as often as possible.
There will be several documents which have to be filled; they may be downloaded in PDF format on the Régie du Logement’s website.
The lease transfer contract binds you (the transferor) to the potential candidate (the transferee). You will also need to remember to carefully examine the details of your lease with the potential candidate, so that they understand all they need to about it in order to avoid any misunderstandings at a later date. It should also be attached to the contract when it is being signed.
Carry out the necessary checks on the candidate’s records: conduct a credit survey (Crédit Express remains the cheapest and most flexible company and is perfect for individuals who need basic credit services). Please be aware that you would be expected by law to pay these fees unless you have a different arrangement with your landlord/landlady. These costs may range between $ 25 to $ 40.
You will need to call up the candidate’s references to confirm their ability to pay their rent, that they are employed and are of exemplary conduct: the required basics are a certificate of employment as well as a brief phone call to their employer or the human resources department at their place of work, as well as a call to their current landlord/landlady (or manager if that is the case).
Next, you will have to fill out the lease assignment notice with your candidate’s name and submit it to your landlord/landlady. They will then have two weeks to get back to you. They may refuse your candidate for serious reasons, i.e. if they feel that they are incapable of paying the rent or if they do not find their conduct satisfactory. If this is the case, you will have to restart the entire process all over again: which would mean a delay in procedures and a lot more stress for you. As a result, a thorough analysis of the potential transferee is highly recommended.
If your landlord/landlady refuses your candidate for reasons you deem unjustified, you may certainly request assistance: contact the Régie at once.
Additional information – a few key points
Special care must be taken to clearly differentiate between lease assignment and subletting: when you sublet your home, you are still 100% responsible for your lease, so you will be completely responsible in the event of your sub-lessee being problematic or failing to pay their rent. In the case of a lease assignment, the entire responsibility is transferred to the transferee releasing you from the responsibilities associated with your lease. It is perhaps a more prudent option in terms of avoiding additional responsibilities.
You may hire a real estate broker, either one with whom your landlord/landlady works (if they have one), or another if you are willing to pay small management fees: there is no harm in doing things by the book and wanting to pass it on to someone who intends to respect the lease in the same way you have.
Always be honest with your landlord/landlady, even if he is not necessarily so: your conduct must be above board, because if you intend to rent an apartment and your records are tainted by an instance where you have failed to adhere to procedure, you will be the only one to suffer the consequences. It is quite possible to find yourself refused accommodation, if you have travelled outside the country and have returned, due to failing to inform anyone prior to leaving.
You may certainly reach any other agreeable settlement with your landlord/landlady: cancelling your lease, paying a few months of extra rent, etc. Ensure you follow the rules to avoid any problems. And if they happen to be difficult to deal with or seem dishonest, you can always check out the information they give you by calling the Régie or getting advice from a broker.
We wish you the best of luck with your transfer!
Hélène Chebroux is a residential real-estate agent and has been in the field for 8 years: now affiliated to Via Capitale du Mont-Royal, and proud owner of a Masters in Management from HEC Montréal, her professional activities revolve around her core values of sustainable development and eco-responsibility