Your full rent must be paid on or before the date it is due – usually the 1st of the month. If you are late by one day, or short by a few dollars, your landlord can give you a 10 Day Eviction Notice for Non-Payment of Rent in accordance with section 46 of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). Once you have received this type of notice, you only have five days to pay the missing rent in order to cancel the eviction.
Paying rent on time is one of your most important legal responsibilities, and you cannot rely on the five-day grace period for late rent each month. If you repeatedly pay your rent late – at least three times within an unreasonably short period – your landlord can give you a One Month Eviction Notice for Cause. See section 47 of the RTA and Policy Guideline 38 for more information.
Tenants and landlords usually arrange for rent to be paid by cash, cheque, e-transfer, or direct deposit. According to section 26(2) of the Residential Tenancy Act, Landlords are legally required to provide dated receipts for rent paid in cash. If you suspect that your landlord will not provide you with a receipt, consider bringing a witness and your own rent receipt for them to sign. You can also use TRAC’s template letter, Request for Rent Receipt, to ask for receipts for previous rent payments.
When disputes arise with your landlord, it may be tempting to retaliate by withholding rent. Unfortunately, this is illegal in most cases. If your landlord is breaking the law, you will most likely have to apply for dispute resolution through the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB).
There are only five sections in the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) that allow you to legally withhold rent without your landlord’s consent:
- section 19 of the RTA – you overpaid your security deposit or pet damage deposit;
- section 33 of the RTA – you paid for emergency repairs after carefully following the proper steps;
- section 43 of the RTA – you overpaid rent because of an illegal rent increase;
- section 51 of the RTA – you received a Two Month or Four Month Eviction Notice for Landlord’s Use of Property, which entitles you to one month rent as compensation, and you are applying that compensation towards the last month of your tenancy; and
- section 65 of the RTA – you have an order from the RTB.
See TRAC’s template letters:
If you know that you will be unable to pay your full rent on time, communicate with your landlord as soon as possible. Your landlord may allow you to pay your rent late – especially if you have always paid rent on time in the past. Make sure to get your landlord’s permission in writing if they do agree to give you an extension. You can also try requesting a short-term loan from a friend, family member, or one of BC’s Rent Banks (Vancouver, Surrey, Kamloops). If that is not possible, you may have to prioritize your rent over other expenses.
Crisis supplement: If you receive income assistance and face an unexpected emergency, you might qualify for a crisis supplement through the provincial government.
- RTA Section 19 – Limits on amount of deposits
- RTA Section 26 – Rules about payment and non-payment of rent
- RTA Section 33 – Emergency repairs
- RTA Section 43 – Amount of rent increase
- RTA Section 46 – Landlord’s notice: non-payment of rent
- RTA Section 51 – Tenant’s compensation: section 49 notice
- RTA Section 65 – Director’s orders: breach of Act, regulations or tenancy agreement
- RTR Schedule Section 5 – Payment of rent
- TRAC Template Letter – Notice to Deduct Overpayment of Deposit from Rent
- TRAC Template Letter – Request for Reimbursement for Emergency Repairs
- TRAC Template Letter – Response to Illegal Rent Increase Notice
- TRAC Template Letter – Request for Rent Receipt
- RTB Form – 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy for Unpaid Rent or Utilities
- RTB Policy Guideline 39 – Direct Requests
- RTB Policy Guideline 38 – Repeated Late Payment of Rent
- RTB Policy Guideline 3 – Claims for Rent and Damages for Loss of Rent