Landlords have the obligation to make all urgent and necessary repairs to ensure the preservation or enjoyment of the dwelling. However, if the landlord is absent, delays or refuses to make the repairs, a tenant may, under the law, undertake the repairs or incur expenses to resolve the situation.
When is a repair urgent?
A situation is considered to be “urgent” when a failure or defect prevents the tenant from using or maintaining the dwelling, such as major water infiltration or a dangerous electrical problem.
Where to start?
Whatever the nature of the repair needed, the first step is to notify the landlord. Tenants have the obligation to do everything they can to contact the landlord or the person in charge of the building. They should also write down the dates, times and names of the persons who responded. If sending a written notice, the tenant should keep a copy.
If the landlord cannot be contacted or fails to do the repairs within a reasonable time, tenants may arrange for a professional to make the repairs. You should know that this is an extraordinary measure: tenants should be cautious and act in good faith before incurring expenses because they will be required to justify their actions with the landlord.
How to recover the costs?
First and foremost, tenants should exercise common sense and stick to those repairs that are essential. The purpose is not to refurbish the premises, but rather to remedy a problem situation. To be reimbursed, a tenant must have incurred reasonable costs.
The tenant must provide the owner with all invoices, receipts and documents pertaining to the work performed. If any parts were replaced, these must be given back to the landlord. If the landlord refuses to reimburse the costs, tenants are entitled to deduct the amount spent from their next rent, without waiting for the Régie’s authorization.