Can I be evicted if get COVID?

I rent a basement suite. The landlord lives upstairs. We share the laundry room and backyard. I don't have a written rental agreement.



Squamish, BC

First, about the rental agreement. Landlords are required to prepare a written agreement for every tenancy (see this law). If a landlord doesn’t prepare an agreement, the standard terms of a tenancy agreement apply. Those terms say the landlord may end the tenancy only for the reasons set out in the Residential Tenancy Act.

One of the reasons (set out here in the Act) is where the tenant seriously jeopardizes the health or safety of the landlord or another occupant. Your landlord could try to argue that your condition poses them a serious health risk, particularly given how you share the laundry room and backyard.

But you could counter in a couple of ways. You could say that your condition doesn’t seriously jeopardize their health or safety, as you could self-isolate to help keep the risk of infection low.

As well, you could argue that evicting you would amount to discrimination. Under BC's human rights law, a renter can't be treated badly or unfairly based on a protected characteristic. A disability is protected in this way. And BC's human rights commissioner considers COVID to be a disability.

You can also take some comfort from this post from Landlord BC, an association of landlords and property managers province-wide. It says that landlords cannot end a tenancy if a tenant is diagnosed with COVID.

All that said, it's best to discuss your concerns directly with your landlord. Describe the precautions you can take. Working together on a plan to mitigate any health risks is a great place to start.

David Kandestin

David Kandestin

People's Law School
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in April 2023

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