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What’s the purpose of a declaration of family residence?

April 24 2018 by Multi-Prêts Hypothèques
What you'll learn
  • Its purpose

  • What can be considered a family residence

  • How to register the declaration

You rarely get married thinking you have to protect yourself from your significant other’s potentially harmful decisions. Nonetheless, since it’s better to be safe than sorry, here’s what you need to know about the declaration of family residence.

mother holding a child in her arms

Its purpose

A declaration of family residence is used to protect the spouse that is not the owner of the property. It ensures that the spouse who does own the property where the couple lives cannot sell it, give it away, remortgage it or rent it out without the other’s permission.

When it comes to rentals, the spouse renting the property, whose name appears on the lease, cannot put an end to the lease, sublet the property or abandon it without the other’s permission.

Here’s an example: Marc lives with his wife Sophie. The house is in Sophie’s name. If a declaration of family residence is registered with the Registre foncier du Québec, Sophie cannot sell the house without Marc’s approval.

Sophie would also be unable to grant certain rights on the property without Marc’s consent, such as allowing the bank to hold a mortgage on the house.

Read our article to better understand what happens from a real estate point of view after a divorce.

There can only be one family residence

To be considered for a declaration of family residence, the house, condo or apartment must be where the family members usually live and conduct their regular activities. This therefore excludes the cottage or any other secondary residence.

How to register the declaration

For a property, a form must be filled out by at least one spouse and signed by two witnesses, one of whom is sworn in. The declaration of family residence can be submitted online for $120, or at the registry office for $130. A notice of address must also be filled out and submitted for $45. The declaration can be made at any time.

For a rental, one of the spouses must advise the landlord that the property serves as a family residence. This should ideally be done through registered mail or any other means that proves the notice was delivered. It is also possible to register the declaration when signing the lease.

Key takeaways
  • A declaration of family residence ensures that the spouse who owns the property where the couple lives cannot sell it, give it away, remortgage it or rent it out without the other’s permission.
  • To be considered for a declaration of family residence, the house, condo or apartment must be where the family members usually live and conduct their regular activities.
  • For a property, a form must be filled out by at least one spouse and signed by two witnesses, one of whom is sworn in.