TENANCY LAW

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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.

HOW TO BOOK A TENANCY CONSULTATION?

 

Tenancy Law

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.

Tenancy FAQs

WHAT LAWS APPLY TO A TENANCY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA?

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.

 

Is my tenancy covered under British Columbia Tenancy Laws?

  • 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:

    • accommodations where a tenant shares a bathroom or kitchen with the owner;
    • relationships between roommates;
    • commercial tenancies;
    • emergency shelters, transitional and supportive housing;
    • co-operative housing;
    • student housing;
    • manufactured home parks under the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act;
    • RVs, park models and tiny homes;
    • vacation and travel accommodations;
    • float homes or accommodations living aboard a boat;
    • accommodations at hospitals and other healthcare or recovery housing;
    • seniors housing, depending on the level of assistance and care provided;
    • military housing;
    • accommodations on First Nations land; and
    • unauthorized or illegal suites.

    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.  

HOW CAN A LANDLORD END A TENANCY?

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:

  • no notice or the notice required by mutual agreement under the tenancy agreement or otherwise;
  • a ten-day notice for unpaid rent or utilities;
  • a one-month notice for cause;
  • two-month notice for landlord’s use; and
  • a four-month notice for renovations or repairs.

Book a Consultation today to determine the notice required to end your tenancy.

HOW CAN A LANDLORD EVICT A TENANT FOR NON-PAYMENT OF RENT OR UTILITIES?

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.   

For what other causes can a landlord evict a tenant?

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:

  1. The tenant does not pay their security deposit or pet damage deposit within 30 days of starting the tenancy;
  2. The tenant is repeatedly late in paying rent;
  3. There are an unreasonable number of occupants in the rental unit;
  4. The tenant or their guests have caused a nuisance to another occupant or the landlord of the property;
  5. The tenant or their guests have engaged in an illegal activity that has caused a nuisance or jeopardized the right or interest of another occupant or the landlord of the property;
  6. The tenant or their guests have caused extraordinary damage to the property and have not repaired that damage in a reasonable time;
  7. The tenant assigned the tenancy or has sublet the property without the landlord’s permission;
  8. The tenant knowingly gives false information about the property to a prospective buyer or tenant of the property;
  9. The tenant was provided the rental unit as part of their employment or similar qualifications and their employment or qualifications have ended;
  10. The tenant has not complied with an order of the Residential Tenancy Branch;
  11. There is an order to vacate the property by the government; or
  12. The tenant has breached some other material term of their tenancy agreement and has not corrected the situation in a reasonable time after the landlord’s demand. 

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.

HOW CAN A LANDLORD EVICT A TENANT IF THE LANDLORD WANTS TO USE THE PROPERTYOR THEIR FAMILY WISH TO MOVE INTO THE PROPERTY?

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.

Is the landlord required to pay any compensation for ending the tenancy for the 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?

How can a landlord evict a tenant if the tenant ceases to qualify for the rental unit?

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.

How can a landlord end the tenancy if they wish to renovate or repair the property?

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.

What is the procedure of giving notice to end the tenancy effectively?

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.   

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE TENANT DOES NOT MOVED OUT AS REQUIRED AT THE END OF A TENANCYEN CAN THE LANDLORD MAKE AN APPLICATION TO END THE TENANCY EARLY?

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.

How can a landlord start proceedings for ending tenancy?

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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