Whether you rent out a small secondary suite or multiple units in a high-rise tower, being a landlord brings significant financial and legal obligations.
Landlords have to comply with legislation and regulation at the federal, provincial and local government levels.
Tenants also have important financial and legal obligations whether they rent month-to-month or on a long-term lease.
Here are resources to help landlords, tenants and property managers understand and manage their responsibilities.
BC Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB)
Offers information on rights and responsibilities, security deposits, pet deposits, inspections, repairs, maintenance, rent increases, ending a tenancy, resolving issues, dispute resolution and more at www.rto.gov.bc.ca
. For A Guide for Landlords and Tenants in British Columbia, a 58-page resource, click on Publications (left-hand side), then Guides and then select English, Chinese or Punjabi. You can also search decisions made by dispute resolution officers.
The Residential Tenancy Branch also offers free landlord forms including rental applications and receipts, Strata Property Form K and Notice to End Tenancy, as well as information about hiring a property manager, evictions, renovations and the BC Tenancy Guide at www.tenantsbc.ca
Canada Mortgage and Housing
Provides guides, fact sheets, sample letters, worksheets and more for landlords, renters and property managers across Canada (rules are different in each province). Includes the helpful Your Guide to Renting a Home at www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/reho/yogureho/salewo/index.cfm
BC Apartment Owners and Managers Association
A membership organization offers industry alerts on topics such as allowable rent increases, energy efficiency incentive programs, case law, dispute resolution, administrative penalties and more at www.bcapartmentowners.com
Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre
Provides useful guides in a number of languages for landlords and tenants, including Tenant Landlord Guide for Newcomers to BC (click on publications) at www.tenants.bc.ca
University of BC Law School
Law students’ Legal Advice Program provides help with disputes and offers the LSLAP Manual at www.lslap.bc.ca/main
(click on Publications).
Canadian Legal Information Institute (CANLII)
Provides a free database of Canadian case law at www.canlii.org/en/index.php. In the full text search box enter Landlord Tenant Disputes and British Columbia and you will find relevant cases.
Searching decisions made by the Residential Tenancy Branch
Let’s say you have a tenant who hasn’t paid rent for several months. To find information on how similar disputes have been arbitrated by BC Residential Tenancy Branch officers, you can visit www.housing.gov.bc.ca/rtb/search.html
and read selected cases.
Cases are organized by topic, for example, rent, security or pet deposit, access to unit, end of tenancy notices, repairs, money and monetary orders according to whether the landlord or the tenant has filed for dispute resolution.
But unlike cases reported on free public access databases such as CANLII (www.canlii.org
), the cases on the RTB website can’t be searched by the name of the landlord, the tenant or the RTB officer.Why is this?
The RTB provides landlords and tenants with information and dispute resolution services and is part of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, which also oversees housing and construction standards and building safety.
The RTB reports that privacy is the key issue and ranks above transparency in the settlement of disputes. So, no names on cases.