I live with roommates. One of them wants me out. Can I get evicted right now?

I’m not on the lease. I just pay my share to my roommate each month and then they pay the full rent to our landlord.

Gabby

Gabby

Salmon Arm, BC

When a tenant allows somebody to move in as a roommate, that new roommate has no rights under the existing lease. And the roommate is not protected by the main law protecting tenants in BC, the Residential Tenancy Act. It’s a different story if the new roommate is added to the lease, or everyone signs a new lease. But absent either of those steps, your legal rights are limited.

For example: the roommate on the lease may be able to take faster action to kick you out than a landlord could. They wouldn't have to give you the notice required under the lease. They would have to give you reasonable notice to evict you. But this can be quite limited, as we explain here.

And if the roommate kicks you out, you can't challenge the eviction at the Residential Tenancy Branch. You would have to go to court (or actually, this online tribunal, which handles disputes under $5,000). And that will take time, the amount of money you may win is not assured, and you’ll still have to find a new place to live.

What else could you do?

  • If you're worried something might happen, prepare for a conversation with your roommate. Know what you want to get out of it. Get your talking points ready.

  • Talk to your roommate. Understand what concerns they may have. Listen. Try to come up with an action plan together.

  • See if the landlord is willing to put you on the lease. With their backing, it may be easier to convince your roommate to allow you to stay.

  • If they ask you to sign something, take your time and read it carefully. Perhaps ask a friend or lawyer to review it. You don't have to sign right away.

Trying to come up with a practical solution with your roommate, and possibly directly with the landlord, could be your best bet. But given you’re in a tough situation when it comes to your legal rights, you could consider trying to make alternative living arrangements as soon as possible.

David Kandestin

David Kandestin

People's Law School
  • Reviewed in March 2021
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada

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