Do you know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord or tenant? Do you have a problem you need to solve? Has your tenancy relationship come to an end and you need to drop the hammer?
Here are some guidelines to help you navigate the murky waters of tenancy.
Whats the Deal with Deposits?
- A landlord may collect a security deposit (maximum - 1/2 months rent payable).
- A landlord who allows a tenant to have a pet may also collect a pet damage deposit (maximum = 1 months rent payable).
- For rental units in subsidized housing, the amount of the deposit cannot be more than the allowed amount payable before the reduction on the account of the subsidy.
- The landlord is entitled to hold the deposit for the length of the tenancy.
- The tenant is entitled interest on the deposit from the date the deposit is paid to the date it is paid back, or ordered to be paid back.
- The deposit can only be used for last months rent with the consent of the landlord.
Rent Going Up?... Again?
- A landlord can legally increase the rent only once every 12 months.
- A landlord must give a tenant 3 months written notice of rent increase.
- Every year, the government sets a limit on the amount that rents can be increased; this is called a rent increase guideline.
- Tenants have the right to object to any rent increase, whether the increase is above, below or equal to the guideline.
- Landlords who want to increase the rent by more than the guideline must receive approval from the Residential Tenancies Branch.
When Can My Landlord Enter My Suite?
- A landlord needs to give written notice to the tenant before they go into a suite.
- The landlord must give the tenant at least 24 hours, but not more than two weeks of notice.
- If there is a good reason that the landlord should not enter as shown in the notice, the tenant should let the landlord know. But, the tenant must let the landlord to go in on another day or time.
- A landlord may enter, after giving proper notice, to carry out responsibilities like repairs.
- A landlord may enter without notice if there is an emergency or to show the premises to potential renters after a tenant has given or been given notice to move out.
- A landlord or tenant must not change the lock to a rental unit without the others consent.
What is My Landlord Responsible For?
- Provide a written receipt when rent is paid in cash.
- Maintain the appearance of the rental unit in proper condition considering the length of the time of tenancy.
- Do repairs and keep the unit in good condition.
- Pay utility bills for essential services that are included in the rent (heat, gas, electricity).
- Do not interfere with the supply of essential services.
- Allow a tenant to enjoy the use of the rental unit and the residential complex for residential purposes.
- Investigate complaints of disturbance or endangering of safety as soon as possible and try to resolve the problem.
- Provide and maintain sufficient doors and locks to make a rental unit reasonably secure.
As a Tenant, What am I Responsible For?
- Pay the rent on time.
- Keep the rental unit and the complex clean.
- Take reasonable care not to damage the rental unit and the residential complex.
- Do not disturb others in the residential complex or neighbouring property.
- Do not endanger the safety of others in the building.
- Make sure that people invited into the rental unit or residential complex do not cause damage or disturb or endanger the safety of others.
- Obey the landlords reasonable rules and regulations.
- Notify the landlord of necessary repairs.
Not Feeling it Anymore? How to End the Tenancy.
- To end a month-to-month tenancy, notice must be given on or before the last day of rental payment period to take effect on the last day of the next period.
- A fixed-term lease agreement cannot usually be ended during the term.
- Landlords may only terminate tenancies for cause (non payment, damage) or if they require at the rental unit for their own use or for renovations or demolition.
- The length of notice required varies.
Have you bought your Renters Insurance policy yet? Here’s why you need to.
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