Residential Tenancy Disputes

Practical and Sensible Advice for Residential Tenancy Disputes

The complexities of residential tenancy law in British Columbia can be daunting. Whether you are a landlord navigating the labyrinth of legal obligations, or a tenant striving for a peaceful resolution to a dispute, you can rely on us for expert, balanced advice, and advocacy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a residential tenancy dispute?

In simple terms, it's any kind of disagreement or friction between a landlord and tenant about the rental agreement. Disputes can arise from all sorts of situations like rent hikes, repairs, eviction notices, security deposits, or understanding the Residential Tenancy Act.

For Landlords

What is a residential tenancy agreement?

A residential tenancy agreement, or lease, is a contract between a landlord and a tenant that outlines the terms and conditions of the rental property. This includes the length of the tenancy, the amount of rent and when it's due, and the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant.

What are my responsibilities as a landlord in BC?

As a landlord, your responsibilities include providing a safe and habitable living environment, respecting your tenant's rights to peaceful enjoyment and privacy, undertaking necessary repairs and maintenance, offering a written agreement, and returning security and pet damage deposits with applicable interest, among others.

What are my rights as a landlord in BC?

As a landlord, you have the right to collect rent on time, establish rules that ensure the safety and maintenance of your property, enter the property for agreed purposes with proper notice, and under certain conditions, end a tenancy.

How can I resolve a dispute with my tenant?

If you find yourself in a dispute with your tenant, it's always advisable to communicate directly and aim for a peaceful resolution. If this doesn't yield results, you can turn to the dispute resolution services provided by the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). You can file a dispute online or in person, and a hearing will be scheduled to resolve the issue.

Can I increase the rent and how often?

Yes, landlords in BC can increase the rent, but only once every 12 months and by an amount that is permissible by law. You are also required to give your tenant three full months' notice of a rent increase.

What can I do if the tenant is damaging my property?

If your tenant is causing excessive damage beyond the normal wear and tear, you have the right to serve a notice to end the tenancy. If the problem persists, you can apply for a dispute resolution through the RTB for compensation.

When and how can I enter my tenant's unit?

As a landlord, you have the right to enter the rental unit in certain situations, such as emergencies, repairs, or inspections. However, you must give the tenant a written notice 24 hours in advance, except in cases of emergencies.

What should I do if the tenant does not pay the rent?

If your tenant fails to pay the rent, you can serve a 10-day notice to end the tenancy. If they still don't pay, you can apply for a dispute resolution to recover the money.

Can I evict a tenant, and if so, how?

Yes, landlords can evict tenants, but only for specific reasons defined in the Residential Tenancy Act. These reasons include non-payment of rent, unreasonable damage, or a violation of the lease terms. In such cases, a written notice of eviction must be provided, and the notice period can vary depending on the reason for eviction. This is not a complete list of all the rights and responsibilities you have as a landlord in British Columbia. Always remember to familiarize yourself with the Residential Tenancy Act and seek advice from a legal expert for specific concerns.

For Tenants

What are my rights as a tenant in British Columbia?

As a BC tenant, you have several rights that the Residential Tenancy Act safeguards. These cover everything from a written rental agreement and your privacy, to receiving fair warning before any changes to the agreement, living in a safe and suitable environment, and even access to dispute resolution services.

What are my responsibilities as a tenant?

Just as you have rights, you also have responsibilities. These usually involve paying rent on schedule, keeping your rental space tidy, reporting repair needs quickly, and adhering to the conditions of your tenancy agreement. By doing so, you foster a respectful and positive rental relationship.

How can I resolve a dispute with my landlord?

If you find yourself at odds with your landlord, it's best to tackle the issue sooner than later. Try talking it out with your landlord, aiming for an agreeable resolution. If you can't find common ground, the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) is there to assist, providing dispute resolution services.

How does the dispute resolution process work?

The RTB has a dispute resolution process that is straightforward, efficient, and fair. You can register your dispute online or face-to-face, detailing the issue. The RTB then schedules a hearing, where both parties can present their side of the story. An officer then makes a binding decision based on the presented evidence.

Can I withhold rent if I have a dispute with my landlord?

Generally, it's not a good idea to stop paying rent, even when in a dispute. You're usually still expected to pay your rent, in full and on time. Failing to do so could complicate matters and might lead to eviction. If you think there are good grounds to withhold rent, it's crucial to seek legal counsel.

What can I do if I receive an eviction notice?

If you're served an eviction notice, go over its contents carefully, making sure it abides by the Residential Tenancy Act's rules. If the eviction seems unfair, or you disagree with the reasons provided, don't dawdle and seek legal advice immediately.

Can I be evicted without a valid reason?

In BC, landlords can typically only evict tenants for specific reasons as set out in the Residential Tenancy Act. These may include non-payment of rent, significant breach of the rental agreement, or if the landlord needs the unit. It's vital to know your tenant rights and comprehend when you could face eviction.

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Our Experts:

Aneet Grewal

Aneet's legal practice is focused in the areas of estate planning, residential and commercial real estate transactions, and residential tenancy disputes.

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Jamie Nay

Jamie’s primary area of practice is within the area of civil litigation, with a focus on both corporate/commercial and real estate disputes.

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Nicole Batchelor

Coming soon!

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