The key is the Registry!
On the subject of leasing an immovable, the Civil Code of Quebec (C.C.Q) makes a distinction between commercial and residential leases. While the tenant of a dwelling has a right to maintain occupancy if his lessor sells his property, a tenant of a commercial space may be forced out of his contract before the term by a new owner.
Thus, upon signing the deed of sale of the commercial building, the new lessor can send a notice to his tenants stating that, within 12 months, their lease contract will be terminated, regardless of their previous agreements.
In order to avoid this situation, tenants should always, with the help of their lawyers or a notary, take the appropriate measures to publish their lease contract at the Land Register as soon as they sign it, as required by article 2999.1 of the C.C.Q.
Finally, it is also equally important to publish any modifications that are made to the lease contract, considering that new lessors are not bound by any agreements that are not recorded at the Land Register. Thus, should the previous lessor extend the initial lease by five years and then sell his property six months later, the new lessor is not bound to honor this agreement, unless it has been properly published at the Land Register.
Amina Joober, Articling Clerk
Alepin Gauthier Avocats inc.