Paying Rent

The Basics



RESOURCE: Rent Receipt Template

Tenants and landlords usually arrange for rent to be paid by cash, cheque, e-transfer, or direct deposit. According to section 26(2) of the Residential Tenancy Act, Landlords are legally required to provide dated receipts for rent paid in cash. If you suspect that your landlord will not provide you with a receipt, consider bringing a witness and your own rent receipt for them to sign. You can also use TRAC’s template letter, Rent Receipt, to ask for receipts for previous rent payments.



Legally Withholding Rent

Tenants are generally not allowed to withhold rent – even when a landlord is acting illegally. For example, if your landlord is ignoring a repair request, it might be tempting to retaliate by not paying the rent. While this will certainly get your landlord’s attention, it is illegal and could result in an eviction notice.

According to the Residential Tenancy Act, there are only five circumstances in which a tenant can legally withhold rent without their landlord’s permission:

  1. section 19 of the RTA – the tenant overpaid their security deposit or pet damage deposit;
  2. section 33 of the RTA – the tenant paid for emergency repairs after carefully following the proper steps;
  3. section 43 of the RTA – the tenant overpaid rent because of an illegal rent increase;
  4. section 51 of the RTA – the tenant received a Two or Four Month Eviction Notice for Landlord’s Use of Property, which entitles them to one month rent as compensation, and they are applying that compensation towards the last month of their tenancy; and
  5. section 65 of the RTA – the tenant has an order from the Residential Tenancy Branch allowing them to withhold rent.

See the following TRAC template letters:



Problems Paying Rent

If you know that you will be unable to pay your full rent on time, try to communicate with your landlord as soon as possible. While they are under no legal obligation to give you an extension beyond the 5-day grace period, they may allow you to pay your rent late anyways – especially if you have always paid on time in the past.

If you know you are going to be short on rent, you can also consider any of the following strategies:

  • prioritizing your rent payment over other bills;
  • borrowing money from a friend or family member;
  • applying for a loan from one of BC’s Rent Banks; or
  • applying for a crisis supplement through the provincial government, if you receive income assistance and have faced an unexpected emergency.



Previous Legal Decisions


  • Fee for late rent allowed if term of agreement
  • Eviction for repeated late payment canceled due to estoppel
  • Landlord may change method of payment if no significant hardship to tenant
  • Landlord cannot add utilities to the rent if not in tenancy agreement
  • Utilities for multi-unit house in tenant’s name is unconscionable
  • Landlord denied claim for year-old utilities bill due to estoppel