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Legal Information/ Legal Briefs

Legal Briefs

Until 2010, these legal briefs provide examples of judgments pertaining to everyday situations. Beginning in 2012, they deal with various topics of general interest, such as rental issues, family law, human rights, civil liability, insurance, dealings between spouses and social aid. They are intended to inform and to prevent undesirable situations.


Legal Briefs 2015

Legal brief
Can I be financially eligible for legal aid if my spouse is not? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
The Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services will consider you and another person to be spouses in the following three cases:

  1. You and the other person are married and you are living together;
  2. You and the other person are living together more
I have a judgment awarding me custody of my child — can my former spouse object to me moving out of town? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Judgments awarding custody are intended to provide children with stability. Therefore, there must be proof of significant changes before a court will intervene to modify such judgments.

In our day and age, relocations are common and may result from a number of situations, including a job oppo
How to avoid the resiliation of your lease for failure to pay the rentThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
When you sign a residential lease with a landlord, your primary obligation as a tenant is to pay your rent in full when it is due. The law states that a tenant must pay his rent the first of every month, unless otherwise agreed upon with the landlord.(1) It is possible to agree with the l more
Breathalyzers and impaired facultiesThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Offences related to driving under the influence of alcohol are probably the ones most likely to affect the « ordinary » person, that is, someone without a criminal past. Unfortunately, these offences can have serious consequences which the public does not always fully grasp.

If a police offi
What exactly is the Social Security Tribunal?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
On April 1, 2013, a new tribunal was created in Canada—the Social Security Tribunal—which falls under federal jurisdiction. It replaced the following four administrative tribunals: the Board of Referees, the employment insurance umpires, the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security review tribunals, more
Suretyships and residential leasesThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.

What is a suretyship?

A suretyship is security (i.e., a guarantee). It is an accessory contract that applies to residential leases, among other things. For example, a father can act as surety (i.e., guarantor) for the dwelling leased by his daughter, who is insolvent. For the landlord, the suretyship provides an additional guarantee for the obligations in the lease.

The law specifies that suretyship is not presumed; it is effected only if it is express.(1) This means the suretyship clause must be clear and specific.

Does my landlord have the right to require a suretyship for my residential lease?

Yes. A landlord or building manager has the right to require an additional guarantee when the future tenant’s ability to pay is uncertain. The request must not be based on a discriminatory reason.(2)

What happens to the suretyship when my residential lease is renewed?

The law states that security given by a third person to secure the performance of the obligations of the tenant does not extend to a renewed lease.(3) Thus, in principle, suretyship expires when the initial term of the lease ends. However, this is not a rule of public order, which means that the parties can agree otherwise. It is therefore possible to specify in a residential lease that the suretyship will be renewed each time the lease is renewed. Such a clause is valid.

In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, when signing as a surety it is very important to be precise about the extent of the obligations being assumed. For example, you may think you have signed as surety for only one year when, in fact, you have also signed as surety for subsequent renewals of the lease.

It should be noted that a suretyship can be limited to guaranteeing the payment of the rent, without covering any damages the tenant may cause. However, this limitation must be set out in a clause to that effect.

If the residential lease provides that the tenant and the surety are solidarily liable, the landlord will have the option of suing either the surety or the tenant for the entire amount owed.(4) However, a solidarity clause must be specifically set out in a residential lease.(5)

If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact a legal aid lawyer!

(1) Article 2335 C.C.Q.(2) Sections 10 and 12 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.(3) Article 1881 C.C.Q.(4) Article 2352 C.C.Q.(5) Article 1525 C.C.Q.

Legal brief *
April  2015
Number  04
Text prepared by   Me Erika Aliova,avocate au bureau d’aide juridique de Montréal Sud-Ouest
* The information set out in this document is not a legal interpretation.
The masculine is used to designate persons solely in order to simplify the text.
I am a victim of spousal violence or sexual assault - can I terminate my residential lease? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Yes. Under the Civil Code of Québec,(1) a tenant can resiliate (terminate) his residential lease if, due to the violent behaviour of a spouse or former spouse, or due to sexual aggression, even by a third party, the safety of the tenant or a child living with the tenant is threatened.

Free or low-cost legal aidThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
You may be granted free legal aid if your income, property and liquid assets do not exceed the eligibility scale provided for in the Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services and the Regulation respecting legal aid.

Even if you are above the elig
Is shared custody in the best interests of your child? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
For the majority of parents who are in the process of a separation or divorce, custody of their children is often their primary concern. How can their children’s time be managed best so that they can spend as much of this precious commodity with their children? more
© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017