Illegal B.C. Landlord Tenancy Situation

10 Replies

Who: Landlord Vs. Tenants (Close Relatives)

What: Landlord is looking to push out current tenants and instead increase rent by 25% by stating that their son & family are looking to move into the unit (which is allowed via B.C. Tenancy laws - https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/ending-a-tenancy/landlord-notice/two-month-notice)  

Where: Vancouver, B.C.

Situation: Some close relatives came to me with their situation where their landlord has given them "flexible" notice (as in no specific date) that their son & family are looking to move back home to the basement suite. Where things got fishy is when the landlord stated that their son would be paying "1500 in rent" and if my relatives could match the amount, then they could stay. This raises eyebrows. Current tenants have been there for 5+ years and have had 0 issues paying rent.

Their current rent is 1200 for a 2 bd/1 ba basement suite. Where surrounding areas are renting for 1400-1500. With B.C. Tenancy laws freezing rents during Covid until end 2021 and only allowing to increase rent (5% ish) once every 12 months - the landlord is definitely losing potential capital.

What could/would you do in both the Landlord and Tenant situations?

If the tenant has somewhere else to go and isn’t getting a smoking deal they should move if they think their landlord is lying. It might turn out they aren’t. If they do decide to move I would remind the landlord that they are only moving because the relative is moving in and they’d hate for their to be a crime committed by anyone else moving or the property being listed for rent anywhere. 

I assume any lease still has to be honored so they must be MtM? Another reason tenants should look for long term leases. But it sounds like they might be paying 40-50% under market if they’re going to charge their relatives 25% more than they are paying. 

This is very specific in BC. Get the landlord to serve them with the 

"Landlord notice to end tenancy" for landlord use of property. 

If they say it will be used for a close family relative as defined in the RTB then you are out of luck.   What you can do is check to see who is living there 6 months later.  If you find the landlord's close relative is not living there. Then you can request for a hearing before the RTB.    If you win, the award is typically 1y of your rent , as the landlord did not act in good faith.

I served the same notice to a tenant, and made sure that the owner was in fact moving their son in.   

Please do some homework and check this out yourself.

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/ending-a-tenancy/landlord-notice/two-month-notice#Use

make sure they serve you the appropriate notice, with sufficient time and make sure you get the appropriate tenant compensation for having to leave.

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/housing-and-tenancy/residential-tenancies/policy-guidelines/gl50.pdf

There isn't much they can do for the son moving in, but with the offer to stay if they up the rent, they can file an appeal with the tenancy board.  Thing is if they won the appeal would they want to keep living there?  You have the link for the 2 months' notice.  Note at the bottom that the landlord MUST give the tenants one month's rent:

"When a landlord ends a tenancy for landlord’s use of property, the landlord must give the tenant the equivalent of one month’s rent on or before the effective date of the landlord's notice. This is true even if the tenant pays rent for the last month.

The tenant must pay the rent for all or any part of the time they stay during the notice period; though, they may choose to keep the last month’s rent in lieu of compensation."


Go further down the page and read what happens if the son doesn't move in...

Landlords should beware that when they end a tenancy, they must:

  • Take steps to accomplish the stated purpose for ending the tenancy under section 49 within a reasonable period after the effective date of the notice, or
  • Use the rental unit for that stated purpose for at least 6 months beginning within a reasonable period after the effective date of the notice,

If they don't, they must compensate the tenant 12 months’ rent payable under the tenancy agreement. If a former tenant applies for compensation, a landlord should be prepared to show that the rental unit was used for the reasons given in the notice, or the reason they were not able to use the rental unit for the reasons given in the notice. An arbitrator can excuse a landlord from paying this compensation if there are extenuating circumstances.

@Theresa Harris @Wendell Fong @Bill Brandt

Thanks for the deeper insight, I previously just skimmed over the BC tenancy acts. I thought it was a bit suspicious if they matched the 1500 they could stay and could just be used as a loophole to unsuspecting tenants. I understand that being a landlord is a business and in a hot market like Vancouver and surrounding areas, if you're losing almost 4k/year, you might want to switch it up a bit.

I had also just found out that the tenants have been paying cash and only signed a lease for the 1st year and have been MTM thereafter with no paperwork. Would this have any affect if they were to pursue legal action if the intended landlord's use of property is not followed within the 6 months?

Not if it’s like most states in the US where leases automatically become MTM if no other agreement is made at lease end. I forgot if you said there was a reason the landlord doesn’t just raise rent, do they have rent control?

Originally posted by @Bill Brandt :

Not if it’s like most states in the US where leases automatically become MTM if no other agreement is made at lease end. I forgot if you said there was a reason the landlord doesn’t just raise rent, do they have rent control?

 Yes there is rent control. The province stated that no rent could be increased until the end of 2021 due to COVID. As well as there can only be an increase of rent once every 12 months that is limited to inflation rate of that year + 2% (approximately 5-6% - 1200 rent could only be increased to 1275 when similar properties around the area are going for 1400-1600)

Sorry Vincent. My edit never appeared. It said…


This is partially a landlord problem. They had 5 years to raise the rent 5% per year and they would be collecting the $1500 they want. This is the downside to landlords that don’t raise rents on “good tenants”. Suddenly they need/want to ask for a 20 or 30% increase. 

I don't know. Normally the terms of the lease continue aside from rent increases.  For landlords in BC even if they increase the rent the max per year, it won't keep up with market value.  On the other side of that is long term tenants are usually good and because you don't have turnover, there are fewer repairs and vacancies.

Have them contact the BC Tenancy number on the govt website.  As a landlord I've used it three times and twice they were very helpful.

The landlords have to give the 2 months' notice to the tenants and they should keep that as it outlines why they need to move.  Also have the landlord write down what the rent is and that one month's rent ($XXXX) will be paid upon them leaving as per the govt rules.  That should serve as proof of what they were paying and why they had to move.

note the wording for the extra compensation (not the 1 month's rent that is a must).

accomplished the stated purpose for ending the tenancy within a reasonable
period after the effective date of the notice to end tenancy, or
used the rental unit for that stated purpose for at least six months beginning
within a reasonable period after the effective date of the notice

the son doesn't have to move in right away, but within a reasonable amount of time

Originally posted by @Vincent A. :
Originally posted by @Bill Brandt:

Not if it’s like most states in the US where leases automatically become MTM if no other agreement is made at lease end. I forgot if you said there was a reason the landlord doesn’t just raise rent, do they have rent control?

 Yes there is rent control. The province stated that no rent could be increased until the end of 2021 due to COVID. As well as there can only be an increase of rent once every 12 months that is limited to inflation rate of that year + 2% (approximately 5-6% - 1200 rent could only be increased to 1275 when similar properties around the area are going for 1400-1600)

This is no longer correct as of March 2018. Prior to that change, the previous government allowed rent increases to be the rate of inflation, plus an additional 2%.  After is is only the rate of inflation.  +2% is no longer allowed.  

BC is a very Tenant friendly province.