Breaching Important Terms


The Basics

Residential Tenancy Branch Policy Guideline 8 defines a material term as:

a term that the parties both agree is so important that the most trivial breach of that term gives the other party the right to end the agreement.

The Residential Tenancy Act does not define “material term”, since the same term could be considered material in one tenancy but not another. For example, the use of an elevator may be considered a material term for a senior who lives on the 10th floor, but not a material term for a tenant living on the first floor.



Tenant Ending a Tenancy for Breach of a Material Term

According to section 45(3) of the Residential Tenancy Act, you can consider ending your tenancy early if your landlord has breached a “material term” and failed to correct the situation within a reasonable period after receiving your written warning. If you end your tenancy due to breach of a material term, your landlord may apply for a monetary order against you, so be prepared to convince an arbitrator that there was no way your tenancy could have continued. Alternatively, you can apply for dispute resolution to request permission to end your tenancy early.

See TRAC’s template letter, Failure to Comply With a Material Term.



Landlord Ending a Tenancy for Breach of a Material Term

According to section 47(1)(h) of the Residential Tenancy Act, a landlord can evict a tenant for breach of a material term. See TRAC’s webpage, Evictions, for more information.



Previous Legal Decisions


  • One Month Notice canceled because landlord could not prove breach continued after first warning