Landlords are allowed to restrict the number of occupants, but they are not allowed to refuse to rent to you because you have kids, or because of the age of your kids.
The BC Human Rights Code prohibits landlords from discriminating based on certain factors, including age and family status. There is an exception to this if a building is designated as a seniors building for tenants age 55 or older.
All tenants have the right to quiet enjoyment of their unit. This includes freedom from unreasonable disturbances, but not freedom from all noise. If your kids are playing during the day, this is not usually considered an unreasonable disturbance. However, if your kids are playing late at night, or making excessive noise, they may be disturbing your neighbour’s quiet enjoyment.
If your landlord approaches you about complaints from other tenants, you can explain that your kids were just playing and not causing excessive noise. It is a good idea to follow up your conversation in writing. In your letter you can explain again what happened, and that you do not believe it was an unreasonable disturbance.
If your landlord continues to receive complaints, they may give you a one month notice to end tenancy (eviction notice). You have the right to challenge this notice by applying for dispute resolution at the Residential Tenancy Branch within 10 days. You will need as much evidence as possible to prove that your kids were not causing an unreasonable disturbance. This can include your written communication with the landlord, witness statements, video recordings, etc. At the hearing, it will be up to an arbitrator (similar to a judge) to decide if the disturbance was severe enough to warrant an eviction.
If other tenants are harassing or intimidating you because of your kids, you should immediately inform your landlord in writing. The right to quiet enjoyment includes freedom from harassment or intimidation, and it is your landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the behaviour stops.
See our page on Quiet Enjoyment for more information, along with a template letter you can use.