No matter which province you are arriving from, the rules will be a little bit different than here in BC. The residential tenancy act varies by province. So whether you are moving from a different province, or simply renting a place on your own for the first time, the information below will help you know exactly what to expect when renting a home in BC.
Renting a Home in BC? What to do Before Moving In
Most landlords will have you fill out a rental application. While this isn’t legally required, a lot of landlords will need this as it allows them to ensure they are renting to great tenants. Once you are chosen as their tenants, you will legally be required to pay a damage deposit that is up to half a month of rent. If you are in a pet-friendly rental and have an animal, you may also be asked to provide a pet damage deposit equaling a half month’s rent. Therefore with a pet, you can be asked to pay up to an entire month’s rent as a damage deposit.
Move In Inspection
Upon moving into the new rental, a move in inspection is required. If no move in inspection is made, then the landlord cannot take any damages from your deposit on move out. Your landlord must show at least two attempts to do the walk-in inspection together. After two attempts they may do it alone, and send you a copy of their report.
All tenancies require an agreement in writing and given to the tenants within 21 days of starting a tenancy. The tenancy can either be month to month or set for a specific period (typically one year). In this case, the lease cannot be broken unless both parties agree, the tenant has been assessed as needing long term care, or the tenant is fleeing family violence.
If you as the tenant are breaking the lease, it is vital to give the landlord as much notice as possible. Offer to help them find a new tenant to replace you. The landlord must put in an effort to find a suitable replacement tenant, however, if they are not able to find one, you may owe them rent until they manage to find a new tenant. More information can be found on the BC tenancy agreement page.
During Your Stay
There are certain rights that landlords must abide by when you are renting a home in BC. These rules are as follows:
Entering The Property:
The landlord must give the tenant at least 24 hours of written notice before entering the rental unit.
If there is an emergency that requires entrance, the landlord must attempt to contact the tenant beforehand. If they are unable to do so, they may enter the property but must then inform the tenant in writing.
Right To Quiet Enjoyment:
As the tenant, you have the right to enjoy your property. This means you have the right to reasonable privacy as well as freedom from unreasonable disturbance. If you feel that this has been violated during your stay, visit the BC housing tenancy website for next steps.
The landlord must provide the tenant with 24-hour emergency contact information.
Additionally, if the tenant wants to have their locks changed at the beginning of the tenancy, the landlord must abide.
If an emergency repair is necessary, the landlord must repair it without delay. If you are unable to contact the landlord or emergency contact after two tries, you may begin to have the repairs done. Once the landlord can be reached, they may choose to pay for repairs up to that point and take over, or they may allow the repairs to continue fully and repay the tenant for the cost of the repair. For more information, please visit the housing tenancy repairs and maintenance page.
It is essential to give at least one month of notice to the landlord if you are moving out of the unit. This notice is to be presented at the beginning of the month, to vacate for the following month.
If you have a lease, you may not be able to move out until the contract has ended, as mentioned earlier.
Date of Vacancy:
The tenant is required to vacate the property by 1 pm on the final day of the tenancy. Any other arrangement must be agreed upon by both parties and documented in writing.
The unit must be thoroughly cleaned. For a full list of cleaning duties expected you can visit the moving out cleaning checklist on the BC website. Note that any tenancy lasting longer than a year require the carpets to be shampooed. This cost is the responsibility of the tenant.
Before the move out inspection, the tenant must ensure that the apartment is ready for the inspection. This means all cleaning must be complete, and all the tenant’s belongings must be removed.
When doing the final walkthrough, the tenant and landlord will compare the final inspection with the initial inspection. The landlord can then choose to deduct the cost of any damages caused by the tenant, their pets, or their guests from the deposit. The landlord must provide this in writing and notify the tenant that the deduction will be made. The tenant must be in agreeance. If the two parties can not come to an agreeance, it will have to be taken to the rental board.
Return of Damage Deposit:
Upon moving out, the tenant must provide their previous landlord with a forwarding address. From this point, the landlord has 15 days to return the deposit, ask the tenant in writing if they can keep any of the deposit for damages, or apply for dispute resolution asking to keep all or some of the deposit.
Before renting a home in BC, it is essential to know precisely what you are getting into. Having read this article, you now know what to expect and will be better prepared to handle whatever situation may come your way. By following the above guidelines, you protect both yourself and your landlord and are less likely to develop any conflicts. Happy renting!