Maintenance and cleanliness of dwellings

Gatineau by-law 508-2007 on the cleanliness and maintenance of houses, dwellings and rooms provides the minimum conditions for the use and maintenance of houses, dwellings and rooms in Gatineau.

This by-law enables Gatineau to:

  • enforce compliance with these minimum conditions;
  • request that an owner or a tenant do renovations, repairs or maintenance (fines may be applied in the case of non-compliance with these provisions); and
  • use the necessary means to counter any conditions that make houses, dwellings or rooms unfit for habitation if the owner or tenant fails to do so.

This by-law provides the minimum standards regarding:

  • all maintenance, including cleaning, painting, maintenance and trash removal;
  • the minimum dimensions for the rooms of a dwelling;
  • mandatory lighting and ventilation;
  • the necessary sanitary fixtures; and
  • electrical outlets and heating.

This by-law also aims to prevent and eliminate issues such as the following:

  • uncleanliness of the area;
  • insect pests and rodents;
  • unpleasant odours and vapours;
  • excessive humidity;
  • water seepage or damage; and
  • deterioration of the dwelling or building.

The by-law also requires the redress of any situation that presents a risk to the health or safety of the tenants or residents.

For information about the cleanliness, maintenance and safety of rooms, dwellings and houses in Gatineau, consult by-law number 508-2007.

Frequently asked questions

Who can I turn to if I notice a lack of maintenance, a problem or a danger in my dwelling?
The owner of the building or his/her manager is responsible for keeping the property inhabitable. They are the ones that tenants should first turn to. If a tenant is the culprit, then that is the person the owner should first turn to.

What can I do in case of an urgent problem or a danger if I can't reach the owner?
If you have a lease, you can contact the Régie du logement to find out what rights you have.

How can Gatineau's by-law on the cleanliness and maintenance of houses, dwellings and rooms help me?
The by-law helps improve the quality of life of residents by requiring owners and tenants to correct deficiencies in minimum housing conditions if they are the ones who were negligent.

As a property owner, how can I prevent deficiencies in the living conditions in my dwellings?
Prevention is always the best solution. Inspecting the outside of the building, and conducting a semi-annual inspection of the dwelling can quickly help reduce the repairs or prevent problems related to faulty equipment.

A lack of building maintenance, such as inadequate weatherstripping on doors and windows, or lack of maintenance in the form of missing bathroom or kitchen fans are generally at the root of tenant's complaints.

Gatineau also offers subsidies for home renovations as long as certain conditions are met, which could help you replace some of the more costly features over the medium-term when the application is submitted at the right time.

The inspector handling the complaint can set out a game plan based on the urgency of the problems identified.

How do I lodge a complaint pertaining to a violation under Gatineau's by-law on the cleanliness and maintenance of houses, dwellings and rooms?
Anyone who wishes to lodge a complaint must call Gatineau's non-emergency call centre at 3‑1‑1 But the problem must first be brought to the attention of the owner or the tenant, as the case may be, to give him/her the opportunity to correct the problem.

How long can I expect to wait for Gatineau to intervene in response to a complaint called in to 3-1-1?
Complaints called in to 3-1-1 are forwarded to the official responsible for each sector of Gatineau so that they can be assessed according to their nature (emergency or non-emergency). Every complaint is important. However, an unresolved water damage issue will be addressed promptly within a few days due to concerns about cleanliness, compared to a complaint about excessive humidity, which could take up to a month. The inspector will generally contact you within 48 hours to let you know when he/she will be available.

What happens once I submit a complaint?
Non-emergency situation:
An inspector will review the situation. If necessary, the offender is served with a notice of violation and given a deadline by which any required corrections have to be made. If the corrections are not satisfactorily made, Gatineau can submit an infraction report in the municipal court requesting an order, if appropriate. The offender will then have to pay the fine as well as make the required corrections.

Emergency situation:
An inspector will review the situation. The offender is served with a notice of violation and given a deadline by which any required corrections have to be made. If the corrections are not satisfactorily made, Gatineau may take the necessary steps to solve the problem.

There are bedbugs or cockroaches in my dwelling. The owner has been informed, and an exterminator came by. He did not spray, and instead left me instructions. What should I do?
Bugs get in wherever they can in a dwelling and are difficult to eliminate. The instructions tell you what steps you have to follow before they can proceed with the extermination. These steps must be strictly followed if the treatment is to be effective. These types of bugs generally need more than one treatment before they can be entirely exterminated.

There are crawling insects in my dwelling. The owner has been informed, but he does not want to pursue any treatment. What should I do?
There are many ways that insects can get into a dwelling. A defective bug screen, a poorly caulked seam or a cardboard box from the grocery store is all that it would take for them to sneak in.

If that is the case, the owner will have to make sure that the bug screens are intact and that the seams are caulked before proceeding with treatment with an insecticide.

It is important to act quickly because they can multiply. As well, they may spread to other dwellings in the case of a multi-family dwelling.

We have respiratory problems, and we are not sure about the air quality in our dwelling. What can we do?
The first thing you should do is check with a doctor, who will diagnose your symptoms. A dwelling can contain any number of allergens that might be at the root of symptoms that are related to respiratory problems or at the root of symptoms of hypersensitivity, such as cigarette smoke, pts, dust, mites, pollen and mildew. After that, you or your landlord will have to do something about the problem.

I notice mildew around the windows and the bathtub. What should I do?
There is a lot of mildew everywhere, mainly outdoors, and everyone in Quebec and in Canada is exposed all the time. A minority of people are allergic to it, and have symptoms that are specifically related to mildew.

Visible mildew is not a source of great concern, but it does call for swift action. You have to:

  • clean the affected surfaces;
  • control the development of mildew by reducing the humidity in the room through aeration, ventilation or a dehumidifier; and
  • eliminate organic matter, including dust, where it can grow.

* It is recommended that a sodium triphosphate detergent be used instead of Javel, which is toxic.

If the mildew has spread widely in a room and materials have been ruined, you will have to:

  • remove those materials from the room;
  • place them in an airtight container for disposal; and
  • seal off the room until it has been cleaned to avoid spreading the mildew throughout the dwelling.

If the mildew has spread and significant renovation work is required throughout the dwelling, you can contact the Service d'aide à la recherche de logement if you are unable to reach an agreement with the owner for temporary accommodations while the work is being done.

How can I get a copy of the inspection report on my dwelling?
The inspection report is a confidential document that is only available to the owner. However, the municipal inspector can be called as a witness in court to report on his/her findings.

The building was constructed in 1900. Does the by-law still apply?
Upgrades in regard to construction concerning cleanliness, maintenance and safety are still required, regardless of the age of building, in order to prevent or eliminate certain problems. This concerns mainly ventilation in the kitchen, in the bathroom and in the basement in order to reduce humidity, which is a source of deterioration and mildew.

Other links

Filing a complaint with the Régie du bâtiment

Getting information and advice on public health issues:

Top of page