Tenants’ Rights

As a tenant you have certain rights, it helps to know what they are.

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When you rent a place to live in you are called a tenant. In BC, tenants have certain rights under the Residential Tenancy Act. There are some instances when the Act doesn’t apply so if you have questions you can always call and ask!

Below are some of the major points from the Residential Tenancy Act. If you ever have concerns or questions that aren’t answered below you can call or check out the BC Government’s Housing & Tenancy website.

  • Tenancy Agreements: All home and apartment rentals must have an agreement in writing Most people use the BC Government Tenancy Agreement Form.
  • Rent:
    • You must pay rent in full before or on the day it is due. If you do not the landlord can start the process of removing you as a tenant.
    • Your landlord can only increase your rent 12 months after the date that the existing rent was established or 12 months after the last rent increase. To increase your rent they must give you three months’ notice of the rent increase.
  • Moving in:
    • Go through the unit with the landlord to inspect its condition. This should be done when the unit is empty, and the previous tenants have moved out.
    • Take photos of any damage (scuff marks, water damage, dents in the walls, floors, etc.). This will help ensure you are not charged for damage you were not responsible for.
    • You can ask the landlord to change the locks if they haven’t been changed since the previous tenants moved out.  
  • Deposits:
    • A landlord can ask for a damage deposit, which can be no more than half of the first month’s rent.
    • If you have a pet moving into the unit, your landlord can also ask for a pet damage deposit. This can’t be more than half of one month’s rent. If you have a guide or service animal you do not have to pay this deposit.
  • Repairs:
    • Your landlord must give you an emergency contact name and phone number.
    • Landlords are required to deal with all emergency repairs and regular repairs if the damage was not caused by the tenant.
  • Landlord entering the unit: To enter your unit, the landlord must give you written notice 24 hours before entry.
  • Moving out:
    • You are expected to clean your unit before you move out. Even if it wasn’t clean when you moved in.
    • Make sure the unit is ready for the final inspection. Once the unit is empty and you have moved out you will do a final walk-through with the landlord to see if the unit was damaged.
  • Returning Deposits: Once you have completed the final walk-through your landlord will either agree to give your full deposit back or they may request to keep part or all of the deposit if there is damage to the unit.

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