Dwelling inspection, corrective action and evacuation

Last updated January 16, 2023

In order to maintain decent housing conditions for all residents, the city reserves the right to take action in a dwelling with  issues around sanitation, maintenance or safety. Find out everything you need to know under such circumstances.

In order to respond to a complaint concerning sanitation, maintenance or safety in a dwelling, the city can:

  • enter a building or a dwelling to examine it
  • require an expert assessment
  • require that corrective action be taken
  • impose fines
  • act to correct a non-compliant situation
  • evacuate and close an unsanitary building

Responsibilities of the occupant

The occupant (tenant or owner) must allow the persons designated by the city to access a dwelling or building cited for an inspection or corrective action, and the occupant must not hinder these persons in the performance of their duties.

In case of inspection

In the performance of his or her duties, the person designated by the city can:

  • enter a building or a dwelling, visit it and examine it
  • carry out tests and take  photographs or video recordings in a building or in any adjacent part 

On request, the person designated by the city must show a city-issued photo identification card.

Please view our Open Data portal to obtain various data on inspections conducted by the city since 2007.

After the inspection

The person designated by the city can:

  • require any information or documentation related to the application of the by-law
  • require that an owner check materials, equipment or an installation to ensure their compliance and provide a performance certificate attesting to their proper function
  • install a measuring device or order a building owner to install one and transmit to him or her the data the device collects

When evacuation is required

If a building or a dwelling poses a danger to the health or safety of its occupants or bystanders, the city can:

  • issue a notice ordering its evacuation and closure
  • transport the belongings and furniture in the building or dwelling to a determined location under its supervision
  • post a copy of the evacuation notice on the building or the dwelling
  • The evacuation notice must not be soiled, modified, torn or removed.

Responsibilities of the owner of an evacuated dwelling

The owner of a building or a part of a building evacuated due to insalubrity or vacant must close it or barricade it in such a way as to deny access to it and prevent any accidents.

When a building’s condition is deemed dangerous due to work operations, fire, lack of solidity or any other cause, the owner must take all the necessary measures to resolve the situation, including the partial or complete demolition of the building.

An evacuated and closed building or dwelling cannot be occupied again until the work required to make it compliant with the regulations is completed.

If the owner fails to take action

If the owner cannot be found, or if he or she refuses, neglects to or is unable to carry out the work required to eliminate a danger after receiving a notice to do so, the city reserves the right to:

  • take the measures required by the situation concerning the building in question, at the owner’s expense
  • carry out the necessary work at the expense of the owner, the tenant or the occupant
  • fence off a property that poses a danger

The costs incurred by the city constitute a senior debt on the building in question. These costs are also guaranteed under the legal mortgage on the building.

Fines for infractions

Anyone who violates the By-law concerning the sanitation, maintenance and safety of dwelling units will be liable to a fine:



First infraction

$250 to $625

$500 to $1,250

Repeat offence

$1,250 to $2,500

$2,500 to $5,000

List of offenders

On the open data site, you can view or download a list of offenders who have been sentenced since 2018 for violations of the city’s By-law concerning the sanitation, maintenance and safety of dwellings. This list includes only cases handled by the city’s Service de l’habitation. It does not include cases handled by the boroughs.

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