You have rented a cottage or campsite for your summer vacation and you are worried about the potential consequences of the pandemic on your reservations. The following questions may be of interest to you.

The rental contract provides that the owner may keep the deposit if I fail to honour the contract. Isn’t it illegal to determine in advance the penalty that will apply if a consumer defaults on the contract? i

No, it is legal for this type of contract as the sale, rental and construction of an immovable (including a cottage, a hotel room or a campsite) are excluded from certain chapters of the Consumer Protection Act, in particular section 13 that prohibits a merchant from determining in advance in a contract the amount of the penalty a consumer will have to pay if he or she fails to abide by the contract.

Can the merchant keep my deposit if the reason I can’t honour my rental contract is related to the pandemic? i

The unprecedented situation stemming from the current pandemic could return to normal by the rental dates specified in your reservation, in which case both parties can honour the contract.

However, unless otherwise specified in the contract, if the contract cannot be honoured by the owner, for example, because of a closure ordered by the government in response to the pandemic, the merchant will have to reimburse your deposit. You could try to reach an agreement with the merchant to determine in advance a date as of which the contract will be cancelled and your deposit reimbursed if the closure is still in effect.

If you cannot reach an agreement and there is every reason to believe that the situation will remain unchanged on the date of your reservation, you could send a formal demand to the owner stating that you expect to be reimbursed; otherwise you will submit your case to the courts.


Last update : October 30, 2020

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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.