An eviction occurs when a landlord legally forces a tenant to move out of a rental unit. If your landlord wants to evict you, they must give you an approved notice with an acceptable reason for eviction according to the Residential Tenancy Act.
Your landlord can evict you for not paying rent, even if you are only a few dollars short or one day late. If you receive a 10 Day Eviction Notice, you have five days to pay up in order to cancel the eviction. Alternatively, if your landlord is lying, you have five days to apply for dispute resolution so that you can prove to an arbitrator that you did in fact pay your full rent on time. If you choose neither of those options within five days of receiving the eviction notice, you will be expected to move out by the 10th day. See section 46 of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) for more information.
Direct Request: A 10 Day Eviction Notice is the most serious of the four types of evictions. If you do not pay your rent or apply for dispute resolution within five days of receiving the notice, your landlord can use the Residential Tenancy Branch’s “Direct Request” process to quickly obtain an Order of Possession without even participating in a dispute resolution hearing.
Utilities: If you fail to pay for utilities charges you owe, your landlord can give you a 10 Day Eviction Notice, but only after giving you 30 days written notice demanding payment.
COVID – Rent Repayment Plan
If you have unpaid rent from the period of March 18th, 2020 to August 17th, 2020, your landlord must offer you a rent repayment plan in writing to give you a chance to pay back what you owe. According to the Residential Tenancy Branch website, all rent repayment plans must include the following four basic terms:
- The repayment period starts on the date the repayment plan is given by the landlord to the tenant and ends on July 10, 2021
- The payment of the overdue rent must be in equal instalments
- Each instalment must be paid on the same date that rent is due under the tenancy agreement
- The date the first instalment is due must be at least 30 days after the date the repayment plan is given by the landlord to the tenant
These terms can only be amended by mutual agreement if the tenant and landlord want to:
- extend the deadline beyond July 10, 2021;
- allow earlier payments to be less than later payments; or
- alter the monthly due date for instalments.
Please note that the rent repayment plan rule only applies to unpaid rent during the specified period between March 18th, 2020 to August 17th, 2020. If you owe rent from before March 18th or after August 17th – for most, that will be rent due on September 1st – your landlord can issue you a 10 Day Notice for Non-Payment of Rent without first having to issue a rent repayment plan.
Service: Landlords are required to give rent repayment plans to tenants in one of the following ways:
- in person;
- registered mail to the tenant’s home, or to a forwarding address provided by the tenant; or
- as ordered by a RTB arbitrator.
The most common reasons for receiving a One Month Eviction Notice are:
- unreasonably disturbing your landlord or other occupants;
- repeatedly paying rent late (at least three times within an unreasonably short period);
- seriously damaging your rental unit or building;
- not fixing or paying for damage caused by you, your guests, or your pets;
- causing danger to your landlord or other occupants;
- having too many occupants living in your rental unit;
- engaging in illegal activity that negatively affects your rental unit, building, landlord, or other occupants; and
- breaching a “material term” (serious rule) of your tenancy agreement and ignoring a written warning from your landlord.
There are other less common reasons for receiving a One Month Eviction Notice. For a full list, see section 47 of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA).
Occupant limit: Your tenancy agreement may limit the number of permanent occupants allowed in your rental unit. If so, your landlord would have a strong case for eviction if you exceeded the maximum. However, even if your tenancy agreement does not include a term about the occupant limit, your landlord can still give you a One Month Eviction Notice for Cause under section 47(1)(c) of the RTA if they believe you have moved in an unreasonable number of roommates.
Move Out Date
If you do not dispute your eviction, you have until the last day of the next month to move out (assuming you pay rent on the 1st of the month). For example, if you receive a One Month Eviction Notice on March 5th, you would have to move out by April 30th. Sometimes a landlord will list the wrong move-out date on an eviction notice. If this is the case, the notice is still valid but, according to section 53 of the RTA, self-corrects to the legal move-out date. To avoid any misunderstandings with your landlord, it can be a good idea to write them and explain the law to ensure they understand that you are not illegally overholding the rental unit. See TRAC’s template letter, Illegal Eviction Notice.
If you are causing extremely serious problems, your landlord can ask the RTB for permission to evict you before a One Month Eviction Notice would take effect. Your landlord is not required to give you an eviction notice before applying for this type of dispute resolution hearing. However, they must provide you with notice of the hearing so that you have a chance to present evidence and defend yourself to an arbitrator.
If an arbitrator determines that it would be unreasonable or unfair to the landlord or other occupants of your building to wait for a One Month Eviction Notice to take effect, your landlord will be given an Order of Possession to take back your rental unit on an earlier date. See section 56 of the RTA for more information.
Two Month Eviction Notice
- your landlord, or a “close family member” of your landlord, wants to occupy your rental unit;
- your rental unit was sold and the purchaser, or a “close family member” of the purchaser, wants to occupy your rental unit; or
- you no longer qualify for your subsidized rental unit.
“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.
Four Month Notice
According to section 49 of the RTA, your landlord can issue you a Four Month Eviction Notice if they plan to:
- demolish a rental unit;
- make major renovations that require a rental unit to be empty for an extended period;
- convert the residential property to strata lots under the Strata Property Act;
- convert the residential property into cooperative housing under the Cooperative Association Act;
- convert a rental unit for use by a caretaker, manager, or superintendent of the residential property; or
- convert a rental unit to a non-residential use.
Permits: Your landlord must obtain the necessary permits required by law before issuing you a Four Month Eviction Notice.
“Right of first refusal”: In residential properties containing five or more rental units, tenants being evicted due to renovations or repairs have a “right of first refusal” to return to their unit once the renovations or repairs have been completed.
If you are interested in being offered a new tenancy agreement for your renovated unit, provide your landlord with written notice of your intention to use your right of first refusal. This will require your landlord to, at least 45 days before the completion of the renovations or repairs, inform you of the date your renovated unit will be available and provide you with a new tenancy agreement for that effective date. Although this may sound like a great opportunity, the problem is that your landlord can set your new rent at whatever amount they desire.
There are strict penalties when it comes to this area of the law. If your landlord does not offer you a right of first refusal after you have given proper notice, they could end up owing you 12 months of your previous rent as compensation. See sections 51.2 and 51.3 of the RTA for more information.
Move Out Date
If you do not dispute a “landlord’s use” eviction notice, your move-out date will be two or four months later, on the last day of the month (assuming you pay rent on the 1st of the month). For example, if you receive a Four Month Eviction Notice on March 5th, you would have to move out by July 31st. Sometimes a landlord will list the wrong move-out date on an eviction notice. If this is the case, the notice is still valid but, according to section 53 of the RTA, self-corrects to the legal move-out date. To avoid any misunderstandings with your landlord, it can be a good idea to write them and explain the law to ensure they understand that you are not illegally overholding the rental unit. See TRAC’s template letter, Illegal Eviction Notice.
Landlord’s Use of Property Eviction Notices have nothing to do with bad behaviour. For this reason, if you receive a Two Month or Four Month Eviction Notice, you are entitled to one month rent as compensation to help with the financial burden of moving. Your landlord must either pay you this money or give you the last month rent free.
Exception: The one exception is if you are being evicted because you no longer qualify for your subsidized rental unit. If this is the case, you are not entitled to any compensation.
Tenant Giving Notice To Move Early
If you want to move in to another rental unit before the two-month or four-month notice period has ended, section 50 of the RTA says that you can give your landlord 10 days written notice and move early. See TRAC’s template letter, 10 Day Notice to Move Out Early. When giving short notice to move out, you are only required to pay for the days you actually live in the rental unit. For example, if you paid the full rent for the first month of a two-month notice period, but then gave 10 days written notice and moved out before the end of that first month, your landlord must pay you back for the days you did not live there. In addition, you are still entitled to one month rent as compensation for the second month of the two-month notice period.
Landlord Did Not Do What the Eviction Notice Said
Your landlord must follow through with what your eviction notice says. If your rental unit is not used for the purpose stated on the notice for at least six months, beginning within a reasonable period after the notice takes effect, your landlord may owe you 12 months of your previous rent as compensation. For example, a landlord may claim that they are moving in, but instead rent the unit to a new tenant at a significantly higher rent. If you have evidence that your landlord did not follow through with the stated purpose on your eviction notice, you can apply for dispute resolution to seek your 12 months rent as compensation. See section 51 of the RTA for more information.
Fixed Term Tenancies and Landlord’s Use Evictions
If you have a fixed term tenancy agreement, you cannot be given a Two Month or Four Month Eviction Notice that takes effect before your contract has ended. If your landlord gives you this type of notice, it is still valid but, according to section 53 of the RTA, self-corrects to apply on the last day of your agreement.
Selling a Rental Unit
See TRAC’s webpage, Selling a Rental Unit, for more information.
There are strict deadlines for disputing eviction notices:
- 5 days to dispute a 10 Day Eviction Notice;
- 10 days to dispute a One Month Eviction Notice;
- 15 days to dispute a Two Month Eviction Notice; and
- 30 days to dispute a Four Month Eviction Notice.
You must apply for dispute resolution within these deadlines. Failing to do so means that, from a legal standpoint, you are accepting the eviction notice and agreeing to move out.
Exceptions: Arbitrators do have the power to extend a deadline to apply for dispute resolution, but not beyond the effective date of an eviction notice. Extensions will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, such as hospitalization that prevented a tenant from disputing an eviction notice on time. See Residential Tenancy Branch Policy Guideline 36 for more information.
See TRAC’s webpage, Enforcing an Eviction, for more information.
An illegal lockout could mean that you are without access to money, medication, work tools, and personal identification. If your landlord locks you out of your rental unit, contact TRAC, the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB), a legal advocate, or a lawyer immediately. If your landlord continues to deny you access to your home, you will have to apply for dispute resolution to ask for an Order of Possession and monetary compensation. The RTB considers illegal lockouts a top priority when scheduling hearings.
See TRAC’s webpage, Other Ways Tenancies End.
- Supreme Court of BC decision that set aside RTB decision to uphold eviction for renovations
- more recent Supreme Court of BC decision that restated the law
- Eviction for renovations cancelled because test set out in Berry v. BC not met
- Onus on landlord to show good faith
- Eviction notices for cause canceled because of no written warnings or evidence of repeated violations
- Aggravated damages for illegal eviction