When considering the issue of changing locks, it is important to distinguish between keys that allow access to the residential property (ie. the rental building) and keys that allow access to the individual rental unit. A landlord is permitted to change the locks to the building at any time as long as the landlord provides each tenant with new keys or other means of access to the building. However, the landlord must always obtain the tenant’s consent before changing the locks to the tenant’s rental unit.
A tenant must always obtain the landlord’s written consent before changing the locks to the tenant’s rental unit unless the Residential Tenancy Branch has ordered the change as a result of a dispute resolution hearing. The tenant must also obtain the landlord’s consent before changing any other locks in the building including those that give access to common areas.
Last revised: April 10, 2016