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Cost and conditions of leasing a lot on public land

Several types of leases are available on public land. The rent is calculated according to the intended use of the lot, and leasing costs will vary. For each leasing agreement, the lessee is granted the right to use the lot on certain conditions.

Leasing costs

The annual rent payable for a public lot is calculated as a percentage of the lot’s value (rental rate). The rental rate varies according to the intended use. The value of the lot is calculated when the lease is issued, and is revised when the lease is modified or transferred.

Rent calculation method

The table below shows how the rent is calculated, along with the minimum rent applicable to each type of use.

Intended useAmount of rentMinimum annual rent
(indexed on April 1 of each year)
Personal use
Principal residence6 % of market value$335
Private vacation use5 % of the lot’s value (see the explanation below)$335
Non-personal use
Commercial (except for telecommunication tower)6 % of market value$335
Telecommunication towerSpecific calculation method (see the explanation below)$1,778
Industrial (excluding wind turbines)6 % of market value$335
Wind turbine$7,068 / MWNot applicable
Public utility6 % of market value$335
Agricultural6 % of market value$335
Not-for-profit community use1 % of market value$128
Conservation and protection of a forest, wildlife or aquatic environment1 % of market value$128

Private vacation use

The annual rent for a vacation lot is equal to 5% of the value of the lot, calculated from:

The rent payable for a lease renewed on the same conditions is adjusted to reflect the variation in the consumer price index, or is lowered if the reference value of the pole of attraction is reduced. In no case may the rent be less than the minimum annual rent.

If the lease is modified or transferred to another lessee, the rent is revised to reflect the current reference value on the date on which the new lease is signed. In these cases the rent increase may be greater than the variation in the consumer price index.

Telecommunications tower

The annual rent for a telecommunications tower lease is calculated from the following factors:

  • its proximity to inhabited area
  • the size of the lot
  • the number of affiliated third parties or companies installing additional telecommunications equipment
  • the reference rent for the administrative region concerned
Reference rent by zoneZone 1Zone 2Zone 3
Adjacent zone$8,297$5,926$3,557
Remote zone$4,149$2,963$1,778

Zone 1 : Includes the following administrative regions: CapitaleNationale, Lanaudière, Laurentides, Laval, Montérégie and Montréal.

Zone 2 : Includes the following administrative regions: AbitibiTémiscamingue, CentreduQuébec, ChaudièresAppalaches, Estrie, Mauricie, Outaouais and SaguenayLacSaintJean.

Zone 3 : Includes the following administrative regions: Bas-Saint-Laurent, Côte-Nord, GaspésieÎlesdelaMadeleine and NordduQuébec.

When a lot is leased to a municipality or non-profit organization to install telecommunications equipment, or where the telecommunications equipment is for purposes other than cellular use, the annual rent is $1,778.

Reference rents are indexed according to variations in the consumer price index (CPI) on April 1 of each year.

Application for review

If you believe your rent has not been calculated properly, please contact the public body responsible for managing your lease, i.e. the public land service centre or the RCM concerned (see the list of delegate RCMs).

Make sure you have one of the following numbers to hand:

  • your customer number (for example: 12345678-AA)
  • your transaction or file number (for example: 123456-00-000)

The lessee’s rights and obligations

As the lessee, your lease grants you the right to use a particular lot on public land. The lot may be used only for the purposes shown on your lease. In most cases your lease will be for a one-year term and will be renewed annually, after payment of the rent.

Proprietary claim

You may take legal action or institute legal proceedings against a person who encroaches on your lot or occupies it illegally. You may also claim damages and interest to compensate for the prejudice suffered.

Mortgage financing

You can obtain mortgage financing for a building erected on a public lot, thanks to a clause renouncing the benefits of accession. Under this clause, you have full ownership of the building even though the lot is owned by the gouvernement du Québec.

All leases issued after November 15, 2006, contain this clause. If your lease was issued before that date, you can ask your lease manager for a new lease containing the clause. You will be required to pay an administrative fee of $446.10 (including GST and QST) for the new lease. For additional information, please contact the public land service centre or the RCM responsible for your lease (see the list of delegate RCMs).

Please note that this clause does not apply to a rough shelter lease.

Authorized lot development, construction and renovation

As a public land lessee, you must fulfill the following duties:

  • Comply with the conditions of the lease.
  • Pay the rent and the municipal and school taxes every year.
  • Comply with municipal, provincial and federal legislation, regulations and by-laws, in particular those relating to wildlife and the environment.
  • Comply with local municipality and RCM land development standards.


All citizens are entitled to access public land. As a lessee, you can only limit access to your own lot, provided the equipment you use to do this (barriers, fences, etc.) is located on the lot you lease. Any equipment designed to limit access to public land that is located outside the boundaries of the lease is illegal.

You are entirely responsible for ensuring access to your lot. If this involves building an access road, you must apply to the gouvernement du Québec for permission to build a multi-use road This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only).

Permits, licences and authorizations

You must obtain all the permits, licences and other authorizations needed for a project situated on public land, in accordance with provincial, federal and municipal legislation, regulations and by-laws. The following non-exhaustive list contains examples of the permits, licences and other authorizations that may be needed:

Failure to comply

If you do not comply with these obligations, your lease cannot be transferred if you have received a written notice of non-compliance (e.g. non-payment of rent, non-compliance with the intended use, failure to respect lot boundaries, non-compliance with the single dwelling limit, etc.). 

In addition, your lease may be cancelled if you do not take the remedial action requested by the gouvernement du Québec. In this case, you must restore the site in compliance with current legislation and regulations.

Permitted activities

The lease does not give you the right to hunt, fish or trap. A forest management permit This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only) is required for deforestation and work in a wildlife habitat.

Types of lease

Below is a non-exhaustive list of the types of leases that the gouvernement du Québec issues for public land and the permitted uses on the leased lot.

Private vacation lease

Used privately for a dwelling in which to stay in a natural environment (cottage, mobile home or trailer).

Rough forest shelter lease

Used for a building without a permanent foundation, for the practise of activities in the forest. The building must not be supplied with electricity or water; only a latrine is permitted. The building must not have a floor area of more than 20 m2, except in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, where the limit is 30 m2.

Principal residence lease

Used for a dwelling that will serve as the lessee’s principal residence.

Lease for an additional lot

Leasing of an additional public lot to complement the main public lot, in order to build a boat shelter, garage, wood storage shed, parking lot and so on. The additional lot must be separated from the main lot and must not be larger than 1,000 m2.

Lease for private interests

Leasing of an additional public lot to complement a private lot, in order to build a garage or shed, or to develop a garden or entrance, and so on. This type of lease is granted if the private lot is not big enough or has specific limitations. 

Telecommunications tower lease

Used to erect a commercial telecommunications tower.

Industrial lease

Used for exploitation or processing of raw materials.

Agricultural lease

Used to produce plants, cultivate small fruits, large-scale farming or pasture land.

Commercial lease

Used for income-generating activities arising from the sale of products or services.

Public utility lease

Used for a water distribution system, landfill site, water treatment site, leisure services, etc.

Non-profit community lease

Land used by a legal person to provide free or low-cost activities, which must be accessible without the need to join a group.

If you have a project to implement or expand public and community development, you may be eligible for a grant under component 2 of the Public Land Development Support Program (French only).

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Last update: April 10, 2024


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