So we’re moving out of our apartment on May 1st (looking for a 4 or 5 1/2, with parking, and W/D outlets, if you happen to know any). The landlord recently did an unaccounced inspection while we were out (and weren’t advised until we came back) .

Yesterday we received a bill for a paint job. As they’ll be repainting the apartment, they’ve decided to have us foot the bill to the tune of $405. This goes against what the original rental agent told us which was they would paint the place white so we could, if we wanted, paint it ourselves in whatever colours we liked, at our expense. No mention of us paying for the eventual repainting.

I’ve checked on the Regie du Logement site and there’s no mention of how this sort of thing works, nor, to my knowledge, is it mentioned in the lease. Someone is calling them today to question the whole idea of charging us for paint but I fear we may have a fight on our hands.

Any legal eagles out there have any advice?

Christ I wished we owned our own place…

*UPDATE* The landlord has agreed that if we paint the place back to white again, we can avoid the bill. He claimed he advised of us of this prior to our moving in but I remember nothing of the sort. Still, if it means not paying $400, especially when I have new (to us) appliances to buy, I’m happy to do it myself.


19 thoughts on “Paint

  1. They went into your apartment without any prior warning? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.
    I suggest you google “Arnold Bennett.” (not sure of spelling) He’s a advocate for tenants.

  2. They did give us warning that they’d be doing an inspection.

    That’s fine and dandy.

    The issue is with them telling us to pay for the repainting…something they didn’t tell us about at all and isn’t written on our lease.

  3. Repaint the walls yourselves. Canadian Tire, supplies, and effort will come out much more cheaply than $400.

    If you want to still get in the last dig, repaint first, do it well, and refuse to pay for repainting as though you were not only going to refuse to pay but that you were leaving without painting at all. They’ll threaten, hum and haw but when they really push it you can just smirk and say, we already repainted everything white.

  4. Oh and btw, I’ve been through the whole landlord vs tenant thing in court. Trust me, it’s an empty threat that will only see the inside of a court if you actually refuse to paint or pay and even then I have my doubts.

    To file the complaint it costs about $45, non-refundable, since last check. Then you have to wait for your court day, which can be a 6-month wait time. Then winning or losing depends on two major factors. One: have documents, details, witnesses. Come prepared. Two: have a sympathetic judge.

    Most of the time, people don’t take it to court because it takes forever to do and requires time off work, etc. But should it go that far, I’d advise you just paint the place at your expense and gather any information you may need for a court appearance.

    I spoke with Arnold Bennett during our problems a few years ago. He listened to our case, gave us advice, and had one of his volunteers join us on our court day. I think she was a law student at the time. Long story short, he was invaluable because we had no proof or much of a case, but with his advice and coaching we won. It helped that our landlord was a real scumbag and that he was American and didn’t speak French. The judge even sent him (and CC’d us) a scathing letter for wasting the court and tax payer’s time.

    I don’t know if it’s still valid but I found this for you, should you need it:

    Arnold Bennett’s Housing Hotline. Bennett carries the torch for tenant rights in Montreal and offers a Tenants’ Advisory Clinic every Sat at 11am at the NDG YMCA, (4385 Hampton), Sun at 11am at the downtown YMCA, (1450 Stanley) and Tues at 7pm at the St-Laurent YMCA. Also every Wed 3:30-6:30pm at the Westmount YMCA, (4585 Sherbrooke W.), 488-0412/990-0190

  5. Um, no, don’t paint. In fact, call the Régie des logements and do everything by the book. This is the one time you don’t want to do the tit-for-tat thingy.
    Start keeping records. You haven’t asked for the place to be repainted, have you? The only way landlords make tenants pay is with a rent increase, and not an up-front payment.

  6. I’d beat them to the punch and re-paint the whole thing white for 30-50$ worth of paint instead of their 400$.

    You can buy a house! There are some really sweet places all around ‘grand Montreal’ for under 100k (just saw a heritage home c.1837 in the listings at 90k and even a studio apartment in a Victorian brownstone on St-Denis in the same price bracket). And now with the new CMHC rules you no longer need a damage deposit. Go out n’ buy!

    * earnestly encouraged by a home owner who wants everyone to suffer the insanity of home ownership right along with her…

  7. we have repainted rooms in our apartment, but we knew going in that we have to return them to the orginal colour at the end of the lease (unless the new tenant likes the colours… we liked the bright colours that were already here, and added a couple more).

    sucks though, but i’d make sure you have everything documented and ready before you start repainting. there may be a colour they insist you use, for instance.

  8. That one is in Huntington and going for 92k, technically listed in ‘Grand Montréal – Montérégie-Sud’ but really at a solid “fat” hour away, it’s likely too far to commute downtown. Still, a very sweet 2st/3bathroom heritage house at a good price with a HUGE barn/garage, large lot and an in-ground pool. Not many houses like that left at that price in all of Canada. Almost sounds too good, there must be a cemetery in the basement or something.

  9. Hey John don’t paint, don’t pay, and tell the landlord to screw off.

    OK forget that last bit. As I understand it landlords in Quebec are required to paint between leases. I think they may charge a portion under limited curcumstances to repair excessive damage or whatever, but generally they have to provide a clean environment for the new tenant and that includes fixing up wear and tear – and includes painting.

    Anyhow the landlord has no leverage. He has no way to force you to pay, and can’t do anything to you if you don’t unless you may some day need a reference. So don’t, and don’t let him know in advance – just finesse it, move out, and then if he calls back or anything just politely say no.

  10. Well, you’ve been given very conflicting advice so I’ll add a something else if you choose to not paint. If you receive a notice from the post office to pick up a letter, don’t. It’s a registered letter from the landlord and by picking it up you certify that you’ve read whatever they have to say. “Can be used against you in a court of yadayadayada …”

  11. I would say that it is very easy for us all to give our theoretical opinions on how the paint payments can be avoided. But I think that realistically you are best to get a concrete answer as to your rights and responsibilities from a reliable source. If need be, pay-up. The problem with uneducated advice it that it is often wrong and the right action always seems to catch-up with you at some point. I should know, I have tons of misleading and down-right incorrect advice that I am always more than happy to dispense!!


  12. I think, but not sure, that unless “no painting or no dark colours” is specifically mentioned in your lease, they can’t charge you for painting.

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