Tenancy & Housing:
One of the best ways tenants can protect themselves from being taken advantage of by a landlord is to equip themselves with the knowledge of their rights and responsibilities as a tenant. There are a variety of resources concerning this subject under the Tenancy FAQ, Videos as well as Resources page.
Click to open/close the items below:
Tenancy & Housing Forms
- Application – Dispute Resolution
- Application – Dispute Resolution Fee Waiver
- Application – Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters (SAFER)
- Form – 1 Month Notice to End Tenancy
- Form – 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy
- Form – 12 Month Notice to End Tenancy
- Form – 2 Month Notice to End Tenancy
- Form – 4 Month Notice to End Tenancy
- Form – 45 Day Notice of Availability
- Form – Residential Tenancy Agreement
- Form – Tenant Notice: Exercising Right of First Refusal
Tenancy & Housing Fact Sheets
- Fact Sheet – Rent Bank
Tenancy & Housing FAQs
Here are some questions that are helpful to ask:
- What services are included in my rent?
- When will the landlord be available to complete my walk through?
- When can I expect a copy of the signed tenancy agreement?
- Who do I contact for repairs?
- When can I request rent receipts?
Also of note, avoid paying your rent in cash if possible.
The first tip should be common sense, but is important nonetheless. Treat your space as if you owned it. You’re renting someone else’s property, so make sure you treat it with respect.
Next, be mindful that if you are renting a unit, that the rent is all inclusive. If you decide to move in another person, consider offering the landlord (LL) additional money to cover the extra usage in utilities. This would put you and the other tenant in a positive light with your landlord.
Also, put some real consideration into who you will have over as a visitor. Your landlord can evict you based on the actions of your visitors.
Pay your rent on time every month. Don’t make your landlord chase you down for rent. This will help build and maintain a positive relationship with your landlord.
Next, begin each and every tenancy with the idea that when you leave, your landlord will be more than happy to provide you with a positive reference for future tenancy opportunities.
Finally, be respectful of your neighbours and your landlord. Treat others how you would like to be treated.
A tenant occupies property, which is rented from a landlord is responsible for meeting the tenancy agreement.
Co-tenants are two or more tenants who rent the same property under the same tenancy agreement. Co-tenants are jointly responsible for meeting the terms of the tenancy agreement. Co-tenants also have equal rights under the tenancy agreement.
When having co-tenants, the landlord can choose to have separate lease’s or the tenants on the same lease.
Co-tenants are jointly and severely liable for any debts or damages relating to the tenancy. This means the landlord can recover the full amount of rent, utilities or any damages from all or any one of the tenants. The responsibility falls to the tenants to apportion among themselves the amount owing to the landlord.
If possible, you are better off using another form of payment (eg. cheque or electronic money transfer) to pay your rent so you have proof of payment.
Legally, landlords are required to provide receipts for rent paid in cash. This proves that the rent was paid. In reality some landlords do not provide receipts and may insist on you paying your rent in cash.
If you find yourself in this situation, a good idea is to withdraw the exact rent amount from your bank account as close as possible to the rent due date. (this will show a debit of the exact rent amount on your account). It is also a good idea to have a friend or someone to witness the cash rent payment transaction.
The first thing you should do, is read the notice top to bottom as it will provide the you with important information on what to do next.
If you don’t understand something on the notice, seek immediate assistance. You can contact the residential tenancy office and request to speak with an information officer.
If you disagree with the eviction and want to fight it, you will need to file a tenancy dispute application with the Residential Tenancy Branch within the timeline outlined on the notice.
After the notice has been filed, the tenant will be issued a notice of hearing package, which will tell you the date, time and access code to attend your hearing. Tenancy dispute hearings are done via teleconference. If you do not have a working phone, you will need to make arrangements to access the hearing from another phone on your hearing date.
It is imperative that the tenant does not ignore an eviction notice.
A 10 day notice is issued to a tenant for non payment of rent, or utilities that are 30 days or more in arrears. Disputes for these will be filed within 5 days of date written on the bottom of the notice, including weekends.
A 1 month notice is issued under cause and is related to tenant behaviour concerns. The tenant will have 10 days to dispute this notice.
A 2 month notice is issued if the landlord wants to have possession of the unit returned to them for personal use. This notice allows for 15 days to dispute. If the tenant accepts this, they will receive 1 month rent free in the unit.
A 4 month notice is issued if the landlord wants to have possession of the unit returned for demolition, renovation, repair or conversion of rental unit. The tenant would have 30 days to dispute the notice. The tenant also holds the Right of First Refusal, which if exercised, has to be done before the tenant moves out.
It depends on the reason for the eviction. If it is because of an “at fault” eviction (unpaid rent, damaged property etc ) then no, the ministry won’t provide assistance with moving costs.
If the eviction is because the unit has been sold, being converted to “private use” or is condemned or being demolished – then you may qualify for help with the cost of moving if you are on income assistance, hardship assistance or PWD assistance. This benefit is called the moving supplement.
There are other specific situations that you may also qualify for the moving supplement.
The Ministry may provide financial help called a “moving supplement” in specific situations for people on income assistance, hardship assistance or disability assistance.
Reasons the Supplement may be provided
- Person is moving to substantially less rent (approximately $100.00 less than current shelter amount)
- Individual’s place has been sold, is being demolished or is condemned and notice to vacate has been given
- Person is facing an imminent threat to the physical safety of anyone in the family unit
- The Ministry may also assist a person to move anywhere in Canada if a person has confirmed employment or to another province if the move is to a permanent, supportive, positive environment that is not available in this province
In order to qualify for the Moving Supplement, both the following MUST apply:
- There are no other resources available to the family to cover moving costs
- Must have approval first from the ministry before incurring moving costs
A security deposit (damage deposit), is money that the landlord collects at the start of the tenancy, holds on to, and must be prepared to return at the end of the tenancy.
If your landlord requires a security deposit, you must pay it within 30 days of moving in. The security deposit is meant to cover any damage that you or your guests may cause.
Similarly, the pet damage deposit is meant to cover any damage caused by your pets.
When a security deposit has been paid, neither the landlord nor the tenant can change their mind as a tenancy agreement has been made.
This means the landlord cannot prevent the tenant from moving in and tenant is responsible for all obligations agreed upon in the tenancy agreement even if they decide not to move in.
Obligations can include paying rent, repairing damages, etc., until the tenancy has properly ended.
For more information, check out “Deposits and Fees” on the Government of BC website.
If the landlord is ending a tenancy to renovate or repair a rental unit, the tenant holds a right of first refusal.
This means the tenant has the right to first refuse to enter into a new tenancy agreement for the rental unit after the renovations or repairs are complete. If the tenant chooses to exercise this right, the tenant will need to inform their landlord their intentions before moving out.
*Note: The landlord would be able to request for a new lease with a new rental amount, but the tenant must first be given the opportunity. Failure to do so will result in a requirement to pay the tenant compensation.
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