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.
Paying the full rent on time is one of a tenant’s most important legal responsibilities. If you are late by even one day, or short by any amount of money, your landlord has the right to give you a 10 Day Eviction Notice for Non-Payment of Rent. This is the most serious type of eviction notice and must be dealt with immediately if you want to save your housing. Once you have received a 10 Day Notice, you have only five days to cancel the notice by paying the full rent. Alternatively, if your landlord is lying about the unpaid rent, you can apply for dispute resolution within five days so that an arbitrator can cancel the notice. If you choose neither of these 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.
A tenant can also be evicted for not paying for utilities that are required to be paid as part of their tenancy agreement. However, the landlord must first give the tenant 30 days’ written notice demanding payment. If the tenant does not pay the amount they owe by the end of those 30 days, the landlord can treat the unpaid utilities as unpaid rent, and give the tenant a 10 Day Notice.
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. See TRAC’s webpage, Applying for Dispute Resolution / Direct Requests, for more information.
One Month Eviction Notices for Cause are generally given to tenants for not following legal responsibilities under the Residential Tenancy Act or their tenancy agreement. Here are the most common reasons for receiving a One Month Notice:
- unreasonably disturbing the landlord or other occupants;
- repeatedly paying rent late (the general rule is least three times within a 12-month period);
- seriously damaging the rental unit or building;
- not repairing or paying for damage;
- endangering the landlord or other occupants;
- having too many occupants living in the rental unit;
- engaging in illegal activity that negatively affects the property, landlord, or other occupants;
- breaching a material term of the tenancy agreement and ignoring a written warning from the landlord;
- not following a Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) order; and
- living in a rental unit that the municipal government has ordered to be shut down.
If you feel that your landlord has unfairly given you a One Month Notice, you have 10 days to challenge the notice by applying for dispute resolution through the RTB. At this hearing, you will be given the opportunity to present evidence in support of your case, but the burden of proof will be on your landlord to convince the arbitrator to uphold the eviction notice.
For a full list of reasons for receiving a One Month Eviction Notice, 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.
If a tenant does not dispute a One Month Notice, or they participate in a dispute resolution hearing but lose, the move-out date will most likely be the last day of the next month (assuming rent is paid on the 1st of the month). For example, if your landlord gives you a One Month Notice on March 5th and you choose not to dispute it, you will have to move out by April 30th. Sometimes a landlord may list the wrong move-out date on an eviction notice. According to section 53 of the RTA, this notice is still valid but 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 a tenant is causing extremely serious problems, the landlord can ask the RTB for permission to evict them before a One Month Notice would take effect. The landlord is not required to give the tenant an eviction notice before submitting this type of dispute resolution application. However, they must provide the tenant with notice of the hearing, so that they have a chance to gather and prepare evidence in their defence.
If an arbitrator determines that it would be unreasonable or unfair to the landlord or other occupants of the rental property to wait for a One Month Notice to take effect, the landlord will be granted an Order of Possession to take back the 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.
If you would like to challenge a Two Month Eviction Notice, you have 15 days to apply for a dispute resolution hearing through the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). At the hearing, you will be given the opportunity to present evidence in support of your case, but the burden of proof will be on your landlord to convince the arbitrator to uphold the eviction notice.
Four Month Notice
According to section 49 of the RTA, your landlord can give you a Four Month Eviction Notice if they plan to:
- demolish a rental unit;
- 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.
If you would like to challenge a Four Month Eviction Notice, you have 30 days to apply for a dispute resolution hearing through the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). At the hearing, you will be given the opportunity to present evidence in support of your case, but the burden of proof will be on your landlord to convince the arbitrator to uphold the eviction notice.
Evictions for renovations: The RTA also allows landlords to evict tenants, with four months’ notice, for major renovations that require a unit to be empty for an extended period. However, unlike other types of evictions, the landlord is required to apply for a dispute resolution hearing through the RTB, rather than serve an eviction notice on the tenant. This means that the onus to initiate dispute resolution proceedings is reversed. Instead of you being required to dispute an eviction notice for renovations by a certain deadline, your landlord is automatically required to apply for permission from the RTB to evict you. At this mandatory dispute resolution hearing, you will be given the opportunity to present evidence in support of your case, but the burden of proof will be on your landlord to convince the arbitrator to approve the eviction.
Permits: Your landlord must obtain the necessary permits required by law before issuing you a Four Month Eviction Notice, or applying to the RTB for permission to evict you for renovations.
“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 the reason for your eviction. If your rental unit is not used for the stated purpose 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 higher rent.
Burden of proof: When applying for 12 months’ rent as compensation, the burden of proof will be on your landlord. This means that, while you will be given the opportunity to present evidence at the hearing, the onus will be on your landlord to convince the arbitrator that they used the property for the stated purpose of ending your tenancy. See section 51 of the RTA for more information.
Extenuating circumstances: The RTB has the power to excuse the landlord from paying 12 months’ rent as compensation in “extenuating circumstances”. For example, if a landlord ends a tenancy to move in a parent, and then the parent dies one month after moving in, the landlord may be excused because the situation that unfolded could not have been reasonably anticipated and was out of the landlord’s control. See RTB Policy Guideline 50 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.
Some cities have created Tenant Relocation and Protection Policies (or similarly worded policies) that provide enhanced legal protections, beyond the Residential Tenancy Act, for tenants being displaced from their homes due to redevelopment.
Cities with Tenant Relocation and Protection Plans
- Vancouver Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy
- Vancouver – Broadway Plan
- Victoria – Tenant Assistance Policy
- Burnaby – Tenant Assistance Policy
- Coquitlam – Tenant Relocation Policy
- Langley – Tenant Relocation Plan
- New Westminster – Tenant Relocation Policy
- Port Moody – Tenant Relocation Policy
- Richmond – Tenant Protections and Relocation Assistance due to Redevelopment
- City of Surrey – Tenant Relocation Assistance
- White Rock – Tenant Relocation Policy
This section is currently under development.
- 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