SELLING A RENTAL UNIT
When an owner sells a rental unit, the tenant living in that unit may be evicted, but it is not automatic. The new landlord (purchaser) must honour the existing tenancy agreement and can only end it by following the same eviction rules that the previous landlord (seller) would have had to follow.
If the purchaser wants to occupy the rental unit or have a “close family” member occupy the unit, they can make a request in writing that the seller issue a Two Month Eviction Notice on their behalf, but only after all the conditions of the sale have been satisfied. If the purchaser does not plan on occupying the rental unit, or having a “close family” member occupy the unit, the purchaser will become the new landlord and the tenancy will continue under the existing agreement. See TRAC’s webpage, Evictions, for more information.
“Close family member”: The RTA defines a “close family member” as the landlord’s spouse, or the parents or children of the landlord or the landlord’s spouse.
Beware of mutual agreements to end tenancy: The Residential Tenancy Branch has a “Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy” form that tenants and landlords can use to end their tenancy on an agreed upon date. If your landlord wants to evict you for “landlord’s use”, be careful not to sign this form. Some landlords may try to use a Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy form, instead of an official eviction notice, to avoid having to pay one month rent as compensation.
If your rental property is for sale, your landlord and their realtor must respect your privacy when wanting to show your unit it to prospective buyers.
They must give you at least 24 hours (but not more than 30 days) written notice, stating the date, time (between 8:00am and 9:00pm) and reasonable reason for entry. It can be a good idea to arrange a schedule with your landlord, but if you don’t have one, your landlord is required to give written notice every time they plan to show your unit. See TRAC’s template letter, Rental Property for Sale, to request a schedule and inform the landlord of your rights.
If your landlord is not following the law or being reasonable about how they show your unit, you can consider applying for dispute resolution. If your landlord is trying to schedule multiple viewings per day or all day open houses, you may be able to argue that your possessions are being threatened and/or your quiet enjoyment is being violated. If you have sufficient evidence, an arbitrator may decide to suspend the landlord’s right to show your unit, or at least put conditions on how and when they show it.
Sometimes landlords or realtors will request that the tenant vacate the unit during the showing. If receive this request, you do not have to comply. Landlords and realtors have to balance their need to show the unit with your right to quiet enjoyment. If you think they are being unreasonable, you have the right to apply for dispute resolution at the Residential Tenancy Branch an order that they comply with the law. See our page on Applying for Dispute Resolution for more information.
When a prospective tenant or purchaser is viewing your rental property, try to be as honest as possible when answering questions. Section 47 of the Residential Tenancy Act allows a landlord to issue a One Month Eviction Notice for Cause for knowingly giving false information.
If a realtor is breaking the law or behaving inappropriately, inform both the landlord and realtor in writing of your concerns. If the problem continues, you can consider filing a complaint with the Real Estate Council of BC.