Your landlord can include certain fees as part of your tenancy agreement, but there are limits to what they can charge you. In addition to the illegal fees listed below, always remember that your landlord cannot force you to follow an unconscionable term. If you think that a fee you are being charged, or any term of your tenancy agreement, is oppressive or grossly unfair, it may be unenforceable.
Sections 6 and 7 of Residential Tenancy Regulation (RTR) list the refundable and non-refundable fees that a landlord can legally charge a tenant.
Late payment of rent
Your landlord can charge a non-refundable fee of up to $25 for late payment of rent, but only if this term has been written into your tenancy agreement. See section 7 of the RTR for more information.
New, replacement, and additional keys
Your landlord can charge a non-refundable fee for replacing a key that you lost, or for providing an additional key at your request. This fee cannot be more than the direct cost of the key.
Your landlord can also charge a refundable fee if they provide you with any keys in addition to the key that provides your sole means of access to the residential property. Again, this fee cannot be more than the direct cost of the key.
If you do not have enough money in your bank account when your landlord tries to deposit your rent cheque, your bank may charge your landlord a service fee. If this happens, your landlord can require that you pay them back for the cost of the fee. In addition, your landlord can charge you a non-refundable fee of up to $25 for the return of your cheque by a financial institution, but only if this term has been written into your tenancy agreement.
If you request to move to a new rental unit within the same property, your landlord can charge a non-refundable fee that does not exceed the greater of $15 or 3% of your rent. Also, if you live in a building or complex managed by a strata corporation, you may be required to pay non-refundable move-in and move-out fees.
Charging a rental application fee is illegal – even if the landlord plans to later return the fee, or apply it towards a security or pet damage deposit. According to section 15 of the Residential Tenancy Act, a landlord cannot charge a fee for:
- accepting an application;
- processing an application;
- investigating an applicant’s suitability as a tenant; or
- accepting a person as a tenant.”
This practice is illegal even if a landlord ends up returning the fee to rejected applicants, or applying the fee to the security deposit of successful applicants.
A landlord cannot unreasonably restrict a tenant’s guests, or charge a fee for guests – even if they stay overnight. See TRAC’s webpage, Guests, for more information.
At the start of your tenancy, your landlord cannot charge you a fee for rekeying the locks. See TRAC’s webpage, Locks and Keys, for more information.
Previous Legal Decisions
- Fee for late rent allowed if term of agreement