Sanitation, maintenance and safety of dwellings

Last updated August 6, 2021

Sanitation includes all the conditions that make a dwelling or home fit for occupation. If you are a tenant or a building owner in Montréal, learn everything you need to know about proper sanitation.

The city has established residential sanitation standards to ensure that Montréal residents enjoy a good quality of life. Compliance with these standards is primarily a question of good faith and dialogue. It is incumbent upon owners and tenants alike to assume their responsibilities when it comes to the quality of their housing. 

Sanitation standards for dwellings and homes

Minimal sanitation conditions concern the following elements:

  • maintenance
  • dwelling dimensions
  • lighting
  • ventilation
  • sanitary fixtures
  • plumbing
  • electrical system
  • heating system 

These standards are also intended to deal with problems that arise, including:

  • uncleanliness
  • deterioration of a dwelling or a balcony
  • the presence of dead animals
  • storage or use of products or materials that emit noxious odours or toxic fumes
  • obstructed means of evacuation
  • ice or condensation on an indoor surface other than a window
  • vermin, rodents, insects or visible mould, and conditions that promote their proliferation

Basic equipment for a dwelling

A dwelling must be equipped with a drinking water supply system as well as plumbing and heating systems, which must be kept in proper working order at all times.

Maintenance

All parts of a building must be maintained in good condition. They must have an adequate load-bearing capacity and must be repaired or replaced as required.

Maintenance standards take into account the following elements:

  • surfaces and heights
  • windows and lighting
  • ventilation
  • break-in resistance
  • areas and configuration of spaces and rooms

Maintenance tips

Whether you are an owner or tenant, there are numerous things to consider in order to maintain a healthy and safe living environment.

 Find out what you need to watch out for in your building or dwelling unit. Also, take a look at how you can prevent or correct problems.

Safety

A dwelling must be safe at all times. The following safety factors must be considered:

  • means of evacuation
  • number of exits
  • integrity, configuration and lighting of a means of evacuation, and proper signage
  • fire protection
  • fire separations between the parts of a building
  • cellular plastic protection
  • smoke detectors
  • fire detection and alarm systems
  • portable fire extinguishers, standpipe and hose systems
  • heating devices
  • banisters and hand rims

For complete details on the regulations in force and the provisions specific to rooming houses, please see the By-law concerning the sanitation, maintenance and safety of dwelling units (in French).

Notice of deterioration entered in the land register

If the owner fails to take the necessary corrective action, the city can enter a notice of deterioration in the land register. An adjustment notice is issued when the dwelling is deemed compliant again.

2018-2021 Action Plan

With the 2018-2021 Action Plan for Decent Housing Conditions (in French), we are continuing our commitment to improve living conditions for tenants and the quality of housing across Montréal.

Other ressources

The Tribunal administratif du logement informs tenants and owners of their rights and obligations and promotes harmonious relations between the parties, specifically in regards to the clauses in a residential lease. Barring an agreement between the parties, the Régie du logement is empowered to rule on legal disputes.

Please contact the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) is you have any questions concerning electrical installations, plumbing, construction work and the related standards and permits.

Several associations provide support to tenants wishing to initiate proceedings against their landlord. For further information, please contact the Regroupement des comités logements et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ).

If you are a building owner and you wish to carry out costly renovation work, the city offers several financial assistance programs meant to help you achieve your goals.

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