Below are some frequently asked questions about tenancy relationships in British Columbia. Book an Online Consultation today with DNL to discuss your specific situation and if you have any other questions.
Renting a residential property can lead to a wide range of legal issues. At DNL, we help our clients understand their rights and responsibilities in a tenancy, regardless of the situation they find themselves in. Starting with the BC Residential Tenancy Act and your tenancy agreement, our legal team can assist you to get the results you want to resolve your tenancy, whether you are the landlord or the tenant and their agents including property managers. The most common situation you may need help with is an eviction, but there are many other tenancy situations that can quickly turn into bigger problems without legal help, from making payments, to maintenance, to complaints from the neighbours or strata. If you need assistance with your tenancy situation, book a consultation with us today.
In British Columbia, the primary source of law for a tenancy relationship is the Residential Tenancy Act, which sets out the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants.
In addition, when a tenancy starts, there should be a tenancy agreement made between the landlord and tenant which sets out how tenancy laws will be specifically applied to that relationship. The tenancy agreement cannot violate the requirements of the Residential Tenancy Act as those are the minimums required by law to have a tenancy.
The Residential Tenancy Branch is the government body in British Columbia that provides landlords and tenants with information or other resources and dispute resolution services to resolve disputes under the Residential Tenancy Act and tenancy agreements.
Not all tenancies are covered under the British Columbia Residential Tenancy Act and resolved through the Residential Tenancy Branch.
Some tenancies that are not covered include:
For these tenancies, landlord and tenants will have to look outside the Residential Tenancy Act and Residential Tenancy Branch to resolve their tenancy including through the courts of British Columbia. Book a Consultation today to determine whether your tenancy is covered and resolution options.
To end a tenancy, a landlord must give proper notice to a tenant that their tenancy is ending. The type of notice required depends on the reason why the tenancy is ending.
Below are some commons situations where a tenancy may end and the notice required:
Book a Consultation today to determine the notice required to end your tenancy.
A landlord can end a tenancy by giving the tenant a ten-day notice if rent or utilities are unpaid on any day after the day it is due. The tenant will then have five days to pay their overdue rent or dispute the notice with the Residential Tenancy Branch.
If the rent or utilities are paid in time, then the notice is cancelled, and the tenancy continues.
If the rent or utilities are not paid or the tenant does not dispute the notice in time, then the tenant must move out within 10 days of receiving the notice.
If the tenant does not move out as required, then the landlord must go to the Residential Tenancy Branch to obtain an order of possession to evict the tenant.
Book a Consultation today for assistance with ending your tenancy for unpaid rent or utilities.
A variety of circumstances can qualify as “cause” to end a tenancy – that is, when the tenant has done something improper that would give the landlord a reason to end the tenancy early. These causes include:
If any one of the above situations have occurred, a landlord can evict the tenant by giving the tenant a one-month notice. Book a Consultation to discuss if your specific situation is cause to end a tenancy early.
A landlord can end a tenancy early if the landlord or their close family member intends to move into the rental unit. Close family member means the parents or child of the landlord or their spouse. It does not include their brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles or grandchildren.
A landlord must act in good faith if they want to end a tenancy to live in the rental unit – that is, the landlord must honestly intend to move in without any ulterior motives.
When a landlord ends a tenancy to move in to the rental unit, they must provide the tenant with one months’ rent as compensation by the time the tenancy ends. Landlords should also understand that if they or their family does not eventually move in, they may have to compensate the tenant for another twelve months’ rent.
To end a tenancy for landlord’s use, the landlord must give the tenant a two-month notice.
Book a Consultation to discuss if your specific situation qualifies to end a tenancy for landlord’s use.
A landlord who gives a notice to end tenancy for landlord’s use or receives an order to end a tenancy for renovations and repairs is required to pay compensation to the tenant for ending the tenancy.
Book a Consultation if you want to discuss whether you are required to give the tenant compensation, and if yes, then how much?
If you own a subsidized rental unit operated by a public housing body or on behalf of a public housing body the tenant is required to demonstrate that the tenant, or another proposed occupant, met eligibility criteria related to income, number of occupants, health or other similar criteria before entering into the tenancy agreement in relation to the rental unit.
The landlord may end the tenancy agreement if the tenant or other occupant as applicable ceases to meet the eligibility criteria or qualify for the rental unit.
The landlord must give two months notice to the tenant if he ceases to qualify for the rental unit.
Book a Consultation if you would like to discuss whether the tenant ceases to qualify for the rental unit.
A landlord can end a tenancy early if the landlord intends to carry out major construction at the rental unit. Major construction means demolishing the rental unit or other significant work where the unit must be vacant for the work to be done. It does not include cosmetic renovations such as repainting, replacing flooring and installing new cabinets or counter tops.
A landlord must act in good faith if they want to end a tenancy to renovate or repair the rental unit – that is, the landlord must honestly intend to carry out the construction without any ulterior motives.
To end a tenancy for renovations or repair, the landlord must apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for an order of possession to evict the tenant. The Residential Tenancy Branch will then decide if the work is being done in good faith and if ending the tenancy is the only way the work can be done. This process is new as of July 1, 2021 – a landlord can no longer end a tenancy for renovation or repair with a four-month notice.
Book a Consultation to discuss if your specific situation qualifies to end a tenancy for renovation or repair.
To effectively end the tenancy, the landlord must give the notice to the tenant in approved form under the Residential Tenancy Act, including that the notice must be: in writing, signed and dated by the landlord, include the address of the rental unit, and state the effective date of the notice.
The landlord then needs to serve or deliver the notice to the tenant following the rules about how and when a notice can be given under the Residential Tenancy Act. There are several different methods a landlord can use to serve the notice including by handing it to the tenant, posting it to their door, mail, fax or email. The method used will determine when the tenant is considered to have received the notice and when the timelines will start to end the tenancy.
It is important to ensure that your notice is made in the correct form and method so your tenancy ends as you wish. Book a Consultation to discuss the best procedure for giving notice to end your tenancy.
If a tenant does not move out as required, the landlord must apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for an order of possession for the property. The landlord cannot evict the tenant without this order including physically removing the tenant or their possession or changing the locks. Once an order for possession is obtained, the landlord can then hire a bailiff to remove the tenant from their property.
If you have a tenant that refuses to move out, Book a Consultation today to discuss your options.
The application for dispute resolution must be in the applicable approved form, include full particulars of the dispute that is to be the subject of the dispute resolution proceedings, and be accompanied by the fee prescribed in the regulations.
If you would like to initiate proceedings, Book a Consultation for next steps.
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Disclaimer: The information on this website explains, in a general way, the law that applies to certain legal issues in British Columbia. This information is not legal advice. If you require specific legal advice, please contact us to speak with one of our lawyers.
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