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Overstatement of the rentable area of the leased premises

In my blog posted last Thursday, I highlighted some of the schemes used by landlords to blur tenants on the total leasable area of ​​a building. Today, we are discussing very briefly the schemes affecting the leasable area of ​​leased premises as well as the tools that tenants can use to prevent such abuses.

In fact, the four stratagems illustrated in the last blog for the total leasable area of ​​a building are also used by landlords in relation to the measurement of the leased premises. In this case, however, the lessor will tend to overstate this measurement.

Require certificates of measurement

During the lease negotiation period or upon receipt of the first “13th invoice” at the latest, the tenant should ensure his lessor provides a copy of the measurement certificates for the leased premises and the total rentable area of the building in which the leased premises are located. To obtain such measurement certificates, the tenant should ideally ensure the lease includes a clause that imposes the mandatory disclosure of the certificates by the lessor. If the lease is already in force and silent on the subject, the tenant could try to convince his lessor to provide such certificates on a voluntary basis as a gesture of good faith. If the negotiation proves unsuccessful, the tenant may force his lessor to provide the certificates by referring to the right articles of the Civil Code of Quebec. Your legal advisor will be able to represent you in this procedure.

Certificates compliance check

When you have the measurement certificates in hand, make sure you verify the following information:

  • They must be certified (signed and authentified) by a land surveyor or an architect. The lease should ideally mention that such certification is required. Refuse any certificate that emanates from plans or measures made by the lessor or by any other third party than the above-mentioned certified professionals: these are neither reliable nor objective;
  • They must be dated and indicate which measurement method was used;
  • The measurement method used by the professional is the same as that provided for in the lease;
  • They must be complete, i.e. include plans for each floor and a summary statement that lists the measurements and rentable area calculation of ​​each space in the building;
  • They should be reviewed by a lease audit expert to ensure, among other things, that:
    • The plans are a good illustration of the building, as this latter word is defined in the lease.
    • The summary statement has been properly compiled and accurately reflects the plans for each floor.
    • The categorization of each area of the building is properly disclosed in the plans and fairly represents the reality of the building.
    • Any discrepancy between the certificates and the measures used by the lessor are immediately reconciled by the latter or else, the measures and rent calculation should be retroactively adjusted to the beginning of the lease term.

Next blog

In my next blog, I will share with you real life cases illustrating how landlords have been able to extort tenants over many years by deliberately using fake measurements of rental spaces.

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