Payment of Rent by the Tenant

Can my tenant withhold paying rent for any reason?

BC Landlord Guide- Payment of Rent
Can my tenant withhold paying rent for any reason?

A tenant must always pay the rent due as provided by the tenancy agreement whether or not the landlord complies with the provisions of the Residential Tenancy Act (the Act). As a general rule, this means that tenants may not withhold payment of rent if they feel that compensation is due to them by the landlord for whatever reason. There are, however, a limited number of circumstances, such as when a tenant pays for emergency repairs to the rental unit, where the Act gives the tenant the right to deduct all or portions of the rent.

When accepting payment of rent in cash, the landlord must provide a receipt to the tenant.

If the tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord may send a notice of eviction to the delinquent tenant. However, unless the landlord has obtained a court order or unless the tenant has abandoned the rental unit, the landlord must not seize any personal property of the tenant in satisfaction of the payment of rent. Also, the landlord must not prevent or interfere with the tenant’s access to their personal property as a means to coerce them into paying outstanding rent.

Last revised: April 10, 2016

This article explains in a general way the law that applies in British Columbia, Canada and is not a substitute for legal advice specific to your situation.