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Know your rights as a tenant

Know your rights as a tenant

You have rights as a tenant. If you understand your rights, you’ll probably feel more prepared to handle conflicts with your landlord. Below are tools and resources to help you learn more about your rights as a tenant.

What are my rights?

Paying rent and other fees

Application Fees are illegal. You never have to pay to apply to rent a place (unless you are applying to Co-operative Housing, which might require an application fee).

Deposits: You may be asked to pay a security or damage deposit of half a month’s rent. Pet deposits are an extra half month’s rent. Your deposit will be returned if no damage is done.

Rent is due on the first of the month, unless otherwise stated.

Insider Tip 

  • Pay by cheque or E-Transfer.
  • Get a receipt.
  • Keep your receipts and cancelled cheques.

Damage and repairs

  • Do a property inspection report with the landlord when you move in. Keep your copy of the form.
  • Make sure your new place is clean before you move in.
  • Make sure you clean it for the next tenants when you move out.
  • Ask your landlord to repair any of these items if they stop working:
    • Heating
    • Plumbing
    • Electricity
    • Locks
    • Fire doors and escapes
    • Intercoms
    • Fridge and stove
    • Laundry

You have a responsibility to tell the landlord about:

  • Repairs that need to be done.
  • Problems such as mice, cockroaches, or bedbugs.
  • Any damage you or your guests do, even if it is an accident.

Privacy and noise

Your landlord can only enter your suite:

  • With 24 hour notice in writing.
  • After giving the date, time, and a good reason.
  • From 8:00 am – 9:00 pm.

Noise: You’re entitled to quiet enjoyment of your rental unit. What does this mean? Well, you’re allowed to enjoy yourself in your home, but can’t be so noisy that your landlord or other tenants can’t enjoy themselves in their homes. It’s the Golden Rule of renting.

Moving out and eviction

To prepare for moving out:

  • Give enough notice. You need to give a month’s notice, so it’s a good idea to let your landlord know your plan to move out when you give your last month’s rent.
  • Tell your utility companies (heating, cable, phone) you’re moving. They’ll want your new address too.
  • Clean the apartment and have all your stuff out by midnight of your last day as a tenant.

Getting your deposit back

To get your deposit back, your place has to be in the same condition it was when you moved in. This means:

  • It’s clean.
  • There’s no new damage.
  • Your stuff is gone.

Get out your old property inspection report and do a walk-through of your place. If you see any damage that’s not on the report, your landlord will too.

If you are on income assistance the damage deposit belongs to the Ministry, so when you no longer need it you have to give it back.


A landlord can give three types of eviction notices. The more serious the reason for the eviction, the shorter the time you’d have to move out. The shortest amount of time a landlord can give you to move out is 10 days.

If you get an eviction notice, but disagree with your landlord, you can fill out an online application for dispute resolution and request for the dispute fee to be waived on the payment screen. You may also complete a paper application and submit it in person at any Service BC Office or the Residential Tenancy Branch Office in Burnaby, 400 – 5021 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 4A5. (The online options is faster)

There is a filing fee to dispute using a paper application, you can apply to have this fee waived here and submit the form with your application in person.

Click here to learn more about the different types of eviction notices and next steps.

Insider Tip

If you get Income Assistance and can’t pay your rent because of an emergency, you can apply for a Crisis Supplement

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