Other Ways Tenancies End

The Basics

Foreclosure

Frustrated Tenancy

There are sometimes exceptional circumstances that force tenancies to end unexpectedly. If a flood, fire, or earthquake leaves your rental unit unlivable, your tenancy agreement may be considered a “frustrated contract”, since it would be impossible for your tenancy to continue under those circumstances. Residential Tenancy Branch Policy Guideline 34 says the following:

A contract is frustrated where, without the fault of either party, a contract becomes incapable of being performed because an unforeseeable event has so radically changed the circumstances that fulfillment of the contract as originally intended is now impossible. Where a contract is frustrated, the parties to the contract are discharged or relieved from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

 


 

Death of a Tenant

In the event of a tenant’s death, the administrator or executor of their estate becomes responsible for their tenancy. This means that they will be responsible for paying rent, as well as any debt or damages, owed to the landlord. The rules about ending a tenancy are the same as they would have been had the tenant never died.

If the tenancy is a fixed term tenancy, the executor of the estate is responsible for the tenancy until the end of the term. If they do not want this responsibility, they can request written permission to assign the tenancy to a new tenant or try to negotiate a mutual agreement to end the tenancy with the landlord. See TRAC’s webpage, Sublet and Assignment, and Residential Tenancy Branch form, Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy.

 


 

Where to Find Help in a Disaster

Emergency Support Services may be able to provide assistance to tenants who have been displaced due to fire, floods, earthquakes or other emergencies. Assistance may be provided for up to 72 hours following the disaster, and can include services such as food, housing, clothing, emotional support, information about the crisis, and family reunification.

If you have tenant insurance, contact your provider right away. Tenant insurance often provides greater support than what is available through the government.

 


 

Previous Legal Decisions

 

  • Foreclosure – assignment of rent to agent of bank
  • Foreclosure – responsibility to pay rent despite foreclosure
  • Tenancy frustrated