Joint tenancy: benefits, obligations and lease

There are many benefits to living with others—and not just for students! In addition to sharing expenses, this mode of living helps people share various responsibilities and stay social. But living together in harmony requires certain rules. Read on to find out about your rights and obligations, as well as the importance of signing a lease.

Friends and roommates in joint tenancy

1. What does being a roommate involve?

A roommate (co-tenant) is a person who rents an apartment with one or more other tenants. By signing a lease, they undertake to pay the rent and assume the various responsibilities together.

2. The benefits of sharing an apartment

There are many financial benefits to signing a joint tenancy lease, such as sharing the rent and splitting expenses (heating, electricity, internet, etc.). You could also potentially live in a larger or better-located dwelling, while getting help with the chores. These advantages are just as valid if you decide to buy a house with friends!

3. Roommate obligations

Roommates must comply with the obligations set out in the lease,[1] including:

  • Paying the rent as per the terms and conditions
  • Using the apartment responsibly
  • Complying with the form or purpose of the leased dwelling
  • Behaving so as to not disturb other tenants’ enjoyment of the building

If a roommate fails to fulfill their commitments, the landlord may exercise their rights with the Tribunal administratif du logement, just as they would for a similar situation involving single tenant.[2]

4. Joint obligation: Your rights as a roommate

Roommates are required to pay the rent jointly. In other words, each person must pay their share as per the agreed terms in a joint tenant agreement. However, sometimes the lease includes a solidarity clause, i.e., each person may be sued individually for the full rent.[2] If this clause is not specified in the lease, there is a joint obligation to pay, unless the roommates are married.

As a roommate, you have recourse against your co-tenant if they do not comply with the agreement. To find out your rights, contact the Tribunal administratif du logement.

5. Signing a lease: An essential protection

The lease determines the conditions under which a residence is occupied. In the case of a joint tenancy, the landlord must send the notice of the rent increase or any other modification to the lease to each of the co-tenants.[2] In fact, each co-tenant has an individual right to remain on the premises and can decide whether to accept the new terms and conditions.

If a roommate wishes to assign their part of the lease or sublet the dwelling, they must inform their co-tenant(s) and the landlord in writing to obtain their consent.

Ready to rent a shared apartment? A real estate broker can help you through each stage of your move. Whether it’s finding the right apartment, meeting your needs or clarifying building regulations, they will be your go-to resource!