Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I receive an eviction notice?
My Landlord refuses to fix anything in my unit.  Does this mean I can break my lease?

Am I allowed to throw parties?

What do I do if there is mold in my house?

Are friends allowed to sleep over free of charge?

What's the difference between assigning and subletting a lease?

My roommate and co-tenant said he is giving written notice to end his tenancy with our landlord.  Does this mean I could be forced to move too?

Am I eligible for a SAFER grant?

1. What do I do if I receive an eviction notice?
Your landlord can only evict you for certain reasons set out in law, and must give you notice. Landlords should use one of these forms from the Residential Tenancy Branch. On the notice the landlord must provide information required by law, including reasons for the eviction and how you can challenge it. If the landlord does not use an acceptable form or provide the required information, the notice may not be legal. However, never ignore an eviction notice, even if you think it is illegal. For additional information, see chapter 8 of TRAC's Tenant Survival Guide.

Source: TRAC

2. My Landlord refuses to fix anything in my unit.  Does this mean I can break my lease?
Not usually. The breach or transgression would have to be so serious that it would be difficult for the tenancy to continue. Some examples include: a badly leaking roof, collapsed septic field, major structural deficiencies which compromise the tenant’s safety, or if the landlord cut off the hydro or water. In those kinds of situations, the landlord has broken the lease. If you choose to move, you are simply ending the tenancy due to the landlord’s "breach of lease". It is possible to seek your moving expenses through the Residential Tenancy Branch in those situations. You will need proof of the reason you moved such as photos or witness statements (this could include contractor statements). You can also contact the Residential Tenancy Branch to inquire about other available legal options to deal with necessary repairs.

Source: TRAC

3. Am I allowed to throw parties?
You can have guests over for parties, but you must not disturb others. Your landlord has a legal obligation to other tenants and occupants to ensure that their right to quiet enjoyment is not violated. You are responsible for the conduct of your guests so if your parties get out of hand and cause problems for others, your landlord could give you an eviction notice.

Source: TRAC

4. What do I do if there is mold in my house?
Mold is a major problem in many homes across BC, given our damp climate. It is important that you check for signs of mold before moving into a place and take every step possible to prevent mold from becoming an issue in your home. Finding mold may not be reason enough to break a tenancy agreement and move out. Your landlord may even blame you for causing the mold problem. If you do find mold, make sure you document it by taking pictures and sending letters to your landlord in case you ever need evidence in a future dispute resolution hearing.

Source: TRAC

5. Are friends allowed to sleep over free of charge?
It is illegal for your landlord to unreasonably restrict access to or charge fees because of guests or temporary visitors.  However, if your visitors stay for a period of time that is no longer considered reasonable, or they have joined the tenancy without the landlord's consent, it is possible for your landlord to evict you.  Make sure you look over your tenancy agreement to see what it says about guests or visitors.

Source: TRAC

6. What's the difference between assigning and subletting a lease?
When a rental unit is assigned, the agreement is between the landlord and the new tenant. When it is sublet, the agreement is between yourself and the new tenant. The new tenant is a subtenant and you will actually be that tenant’s landlord.  Also, you are still your landlord’s tenant. If your tenant damages the rental unit or does not pay the rent, you will be held responsible.

Source: TRAC

7. My roommate and co-tenant said he is giving written notice to end his tenancy with our landlord.  Does this mean I could be forced to move too?
Yes. Unless you and your landlord agree to change the existing agreement or enter into a new tenancy agreement, you may have to move as well. If you do not move and the landlord accepts rent from you, he or she has more than likely re-instated your tenancy. The exception to this is if the landlord writes on your rent receipt “Accepted for Use and Occupation Only. Tenant must vacate by (date)”. You will have to move on the date given.

Source: TRAC

8. Am I eligible for a SAFER grant?
You may be eligible for SAFER if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You are age 60 or over
  • You have lived in BC for the full 12 months preceding your application
  • You and your spouse (with whom you are living) meet one of the following citizenship requirements: Canadian citizen(s); or authorized to take up permanent residence in Canada; or Convention refugee(s)
  • You pay 30% of your gross (before tax) monthly household income towards the rent for your home, including the cost of pad rental for a manufactured home (trailer) that you own and occupy.

If you are eligible, SAFER may subsidize part of the rent that is over 30% of your income. The subsidy is calculated to give the most assistance to people with the least income. For additional information, click here.