We take calls every day from landlords and property managers across the province. Each call we take is unique and has its own surrounding circumstances. However, some questions come up often and are common challenges faced by many of our members. We have compiled a list of the top 10 questions that we are asked most frequently on the helpline. Below are answers to your questions as well as information about guides and forms that are applicable to the different situations you may be facing.
While we are happy to help through the helpline, you may save your time by finding the answers to common questions below.
1. What is this year’s allowable rent increase?
The allowable rent increase for 2017 is 3.7%.
2. Do I have to pay interest on security and pet damage deposits?
The interest rate payable on deposits for 2017 is 0.0% and has been 0.0% since and including 2009.
The RTB has an interactive deposit calculator on their site.
3. Am I allowed to enter a tenant’s unit?
A landlord is allowed to enter a unit once a month for a routine inspection. A proper notice of entry, which can be found in the LandlordBC forms section of our website, must be served and the tenant needs a minimum of 24 hours’ notice. Alternatively, a landlord and tenant can agree to allow the landlord to enter the unit at any time.
4. How and when to schedule a condition inspection?
A condition inspection must be completed at the beginning of the tenancy prior to the tenant moving their belongings in to the unit.
A condition inspection must also be completed at the end of the tenancy after the tenant has moved out their belongings. A landlord must offer two opportunities to schedule a condition inspection and, in the event a tenant is not cooperative, a landlord may have to service a Notice of Final Opportunity to Schedule a Condition Inspection.
5. How do I end a tenancy?
There are many ways a landlord can end a tenancy. Depending on the situation a landlord may serve a notice to end tenancy, sign a mutual agreement to end tenancy, or apply for an early end of tenancy.
6. How do I deal with additional occupants?
Additional occupants are only permitted with prior written consent and acceptance by the landlord. If a landlord chooses to permit additional occupants, the rent may increase as per clause 6 of the LandlordBC Residential Tenancy Agreement. It is advisable to list additional occupants as tenants once accepted by amending the tenancy agreement.
7. How do I get a credit check on a potential applicant?
Credit checks are done online with our associate member, Tenant Verification Services (TVS). Landlords must set up an account with them initially, which requires proof of ownership and identification.
8. Can I add additional terms to my tenancy agreement?
Yes, a landlord can add additional terms, by way of an addendum, to a tenancy agreement. You must ensure that any additional terms you add into your agreement are not unconscionable (ie. grossly unfair), and all parties agree to, and initial the added terms. Any changes must be in accordance with the Residential Tenancy Act. Also, section 14 (1) of the Act states that “a tenancy agreement may not be amended to change or remove a standard term” (ie. a term required by the regulations).
9. How can I remove a service or facility that is included in the agreement?
You may remove or restrict a service or facility that is included in the tenancy agreement as long as it is not considered to be essential to the tenancy (ex. a roof), or a material term (a term that is described in the agreement and is essential to the tenancy). In order to remove or restrict a service or facility a landlord must give 30 days’ written notice to the tenant and must use the approved form.
When removing or restricting a service or facility the landlord must reduce the rent by an amount equal to the reduction in value to the tenancy agreement (i.e. the cost to the tenant to replace the service or facility).
10. How do I extend an agreement?
A common misconception is that when your fixed term tenancy is coming to an end and you plan to continue the tenancy, that you should fill out a new tenancy agreement. This is not the case. Unless you are fully ending the tenancy and beginning a new one, you stay with the original tenancy agreement and simply amend it. So, if you wish to extend the agreement by entering into another fixed term, you simply cross out the original end date and put in a new end date, with all parties initialing beside the change.