Every July 1, people across Quebec frantically pack their belongings and load them into vans, trucks, and cars. Then, by the thousands, they travel down busy streets in a hurry toward their new rental units. Tempers flare, traffic jams ensue, and a piece of furniture or two may get lost along the way.
Such a sight means only one thing – it’s Moving Day in Quebec!
In what has been an annual tradition for more than 200 years in the province, many tenants vacate their existing rental units and settle into new ones on Moving Day. In Quebec, most leases expire on June 30, so a large chunk of the province essentially swaps residences on July 1.
Depending on who you ask, Moving Day can be a boon or a headache for landlords. If you’re in the rental business, getting acquainted with this strange provincial ritual that occurs every July 1 in Quebec is wise. That way, you can prepare adequately for the chaos to come!
Moving Day dates back to the mid-eighteenth century in Quebec, then known as New France.
The tradition began as a humanitarian endeavour implemented by the colonial government, barring landowners from evicting their tenants during the winter. The measure was later codified as law in 1866 as part of the Quebec civil code.
As per the law, all urban leases had to begin on May 1 and end on April 30. As a result, May 1 became known as “Moving Day,” as crowds of tenants rushed to vacate their properties and begin fresh leases at new residences.
In 1973, the Quebec government amended the law by shifting Moving Day to July 1. They reasoned it would be more convenient for parents to allow their children to complete their school year without disruption. Plus, July 1 is a national holiday, so tenants would have an extra day to gather their belongings and settle into their new homes.
While the law eventually repealed mandatory fixed lease terms, the tradition persists today. For example, in 2017, about 130,000 people in Montreal alone moved to a new home.
If you’re a landlord, the primary benefit of Moving Day is knowing that demand for rental properties will skyrocket as July 1 nears. With this foresight, you can create your business schedule far in advance.
For example, you can analyze your revenue and expenses at the start of the year and determine the rent price to charge your tenants. Then, you can submit proposed rent increases to your tenants early, giving them ample time to decide whether they wish to renew their leases.
If they choose not to renew, you can begin creating advertisements for your rental units to secure new tenants. You can also start addressing any repairs and maintenance on your property right away.
July 1 is a hectic day for tenants, so you should do what you can to make the transition as smooth as possible. The last thing they’ll want to deal with is a disorganized landlord.
Here are some tips for tackling Moving Day the smart way.
You don’t want to be rummaging through your office on Moving Day, searching for paperwork. Ensure you have the following documents at your fingertips:
Make Your Rental Property Move-In Ready
Have you yet to approve and sign a lease agreement because you need to screen a last-minute tenant? A great way to get the job done quickly before the chaos erupts on July 1 is to sign up for SingleKey’s Tenant Report. Simply enter your tenant’s information or invite them to provide it via email. In five minutes, you’ll receive a comprehensive Equifax credit report and background check on your tenant.
It’ll be challenging to book anyone remotely involved in the construction or maintenance sector during the summer. There’s a good chance they’ll be away on holidays or swamped with work from other landlords.
For this reason, you should inquire with your old tenants early about any crucial last-minute repairs to complete. That way, you’ll have more time to get a hold of someone who can rectify the issue before July 1.
Check in with your departing tenants a few days before July 1 to ensure they’ve started packing their belongings. By doing so, you’ll also get to inspect the property and take note of any crucial maintenance or repair work to complete (such as a broken toilet or fridge).
As per the Regie du Logement, the new tenant has the legal right to enter and occupy their unit on the first day of their lease. There’s no grace period for the old tenant whose lease has expired.
Suppose your current tenant isn’t quite ready to move out. In that case, you should instruct them to empty one or two rooms of their contents to provide the new tenant with some space to drop off their belongings.
Be sure to assist the departing tenant if you can – they may also be moving into a new property on July 1. It’s a frantic day for many people, so being courteous and helpful is a nice gesture.
Your new tenants won’t be thrilled if they see pizza boxes strewn across the floor and stains on the walls once they arrive. Ensure you tidy up your unit if your old tenants left in a hurry and left a mess.
While Moving Day lasts just 24 hours, you’ll still need to be around to address any concerns your new tenants bring up (it’s not time to go on vacation just yet!). You can reasonably anticipate requests for maintenance and repair work. Or, you may have to answer questions about specific rules outlined in the lease agreement.
Whatever your impression is of Moving Day, it’s clear this quirky tradition is firmly entrenched in Quebec’s culture, at least for the foreseeable future.
Most landlords in the province begin new leases on July 1, so you can always expect fleets of moving trucks to fill the streets as summer rolls around. Also, homeownership in Quebec is lower than the national average, so there’s no shortage of tenants seeking new rental properties.
The weeks leading up to Moving Day can be hectic and demanding for tenants and landlords. But with some prudent planning, you’ll have an easier time navigating the chaos while keeping your new tenants happy.
However, there’s always the risk your new tenants can fall behind on rent payments. After all, you’re starting fresh, so you don’t know what to expect exactly.
Every landlord knows that timely rent payments are the lifeblood of a rental business. Once they cease, profits immediately head south. And that’s not even counting property damage and eviction costs should things take a turn for the worst.
SingleKey’s Rent Guarantee service acts to safeguard your rental income should your tenants fail to pay their rent. You’ll receive coverage for up to 12 months of rent up to $60,000. And if you have to evict a tenant, you also receive reimbursement for up to $1,500 in legal fees and $10,000 in property damage.
With SingleKey’s Rent Guarantee service, you can say goodbye to these hefty bills and ensure your rental income won’t vanish overnight due to a delinquent tenant.