Renting in British Columbia

  • Recorded on: April 26, 2022
  • Length: 60 minutes

Summary

Lawyer Lisa Mackie, tenant advocate Emma Lazo, and Robert Williams from the Residential Tenancy Branch answer common questions about renting in BC.

Highlights

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • What is the Residential Tenancy Branch, and the three areas of service the branch offers landlords and tenants in British Columbia. [4:00]

  • What is the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC), and the services and resources it offers to support tenants in British Columbia. [8:40]

  • The kinds of questions landlords can ask prospective tenants during a rental interview. [12:20]

  • What needs to be included in a residential tenancy agreement, what terms may be illegal, and what happens if there isn’t a written agreement. [15:45]

  • What is a “mutual agreement to end tenancy,” when it’s an option, and how it works. [19:50]

  • Whether a landlord has an automatic right to receive a security deposit and how a tenant can get their security deposit back. [22:00]

  • What happens to a security deposit if a condition inspection is not performed at the start or at the end of a tenancy. [25:05]

  • Whether a tenant can change their mind about a unit if they have signed an agreement with the landlord and, if so, whether they will get their security deposit back. [28:20]

  • Whether an individual is protected under residential tenancy laws if they only rent a room and share a washroom and kitchen with a roommate (who is the main renter). [33:50]

  • The circumstances where a landlord can enter a rental unit and how much notice a tenant is entitled to receive before entry. [35:55]

  • Whether landlords and tenants can correspond with each other via text message, and whether notices can be served via text message. [36:55]

  • Whether a landlord can limit the number of occupants in a rental unit, how such a limit is administered, and what happens if a tenant exceeds the limit. [39:05]

  • What happens if a tenant has a noise dispute with a neighbour, including whether the landlord is required to get involved (that is, to protect the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment). [40:00]

  • Whether a landlord is allowed to increase a tenant’s rent, whether there are laws restricting the amount or frequency of rent increases, and whether a landlord can kick out a tenant if they refuse to pay an extra $100/month (over the allowable rent increase). [41:05]

  • When it’s okay for a landlord to evict a tenant and whether a tenant will be compensated. [46:00]

  • Whether a landlord is allowed to kick out a tenant if they ask for repairs. [48:05]

  • What is a “direct request” proceeding with the Residential Tenancy Branch, and how it differs from an ordinary proceeding at the branch. [49:20]

  • What happens at a Residential Tenancy Branch hearing and what a landlord or tenant can do if they disagree with the resulting decision. [52:40]

  • How tenants without employment income can deal with questions from prospective landlords about income and employment, and whether, for privacy reasons, they can refuse to give out their social insurance number. [54:45]

  • Whether, where a couple rents a unit and one of them will leave after the lease turns month-to-month, the remaining tenant can rent to a friend. [56:50]

  • Whether a landlord can send a letter to a tenant listing grievances from the past year and say they are evicting them for not taking care of the premises. [59:15]

Attendee feedback

“This was a great webinar and really happy I attended it. Your format of pre-selected questions, and the ability to ask questions during the webinar was awesome. Just getting real-time answers/responses to those questions was next level! Great job of putting this webinar together!”

“Another great session! You really have the ability to get knowledgeable presenters!”

“Thank you for the great TRAC resources regarding evictions and the template letters!” 

"It's great that selected questions are pre-prepared; often they touch on Q&A questions that might be submitted during the sessions. I think you guys do an excellent job of selecting well-versed and articulate speakers!"

“Another great session — keep up the great work in arranging all the relevant sessions!”

"You are doing a great job — webinars are short and sweet."

Featuring

Lisa Mackie

Lisa Mackie is the leader of the strata property practice group at Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, and a member of the firm’s insurance and real estate practices. Her primary areas of practice are strata property law and residential tenancy law.

Emma Lazo

As the Public Legal Education Coordinator with the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC), Emma coordinates free legal education workshops and webinars for tenants and advocates across BC.

Robert Williams

Robert works for the Residential Tenancy Branch as an Information Officer. He has also worked as an investigator for the branch’s compliance unit. Robert is passionate about educating both landlords and tenants of their rights and responsibilities, and ensuring that all parties have access to justice under the Residential Tenancy Act.

Additional resources

From People’s Law School: 

From Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre:

From the Residential Tenancy Branch:

Additional resources:

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