A landlord may choose to end a tenancy for one or more of a number of different reasons and following a number of different methods, as described below. In doing so, they must diligently adhere to the rules since an unlawful eviction by the landlord, if disputed, will be set aside by the Residential Tenancy Branch and may even give rise to a subsequent claim for damages.
A landlord may end a tenancy:
- for non-payment of rent or utilities;
- for cause;
- for termination of employment (ex. resident caretaker);
- for occupancy by the landlord or the landlord’s close family member;
- for sale of the rental unit;
- for major work or conversion;
- since the tenant no longer qualifies for subsidized-housing;
- by application to the Residential Tenancy Branch.
A landlord must use the Residential Tenancy Branch’s approved forms when issuing a notice to end tenancy. Also, a landlord’s notice to end tenancy must also comply with the form and content requirements set out by the Residential Tenancy Act (the Act). Specifically, this notice must:
- be signed and dated by the landlord;
- provide the address of the rental unit;
- state the effective date of the notice; and
- state the grounds for ending the tenancy.
Furthermore, when issuing a Notice to End Tenancy, the landlord must use a method of service approved by the Act:
- Leaving a copy of the notice with the tenant, in which case service is deemed to take place at that time;
- Leaving a copy of the notice at the tenant’s residence with an adult who apparently resides with the tenant, in which case service is deemed to take place at that time;
- Sending a copy of the notice by ordinary mail or by registered mail to the address at which the tenant resides or to a forwarding address provided by the tenant, in which case service is deemed to take place on the 5th day after it is mailed;
- Leaving a copy of the notice in a mail box or mail slot for the address at which the tenant resides, in which case service is deemed to take place on the 3rd day after it is left;
- Attaching a copy of the notice to a door or other conspicuous place at the address at which the tenant resides, in which case service is deemed to take place on the 3rd day after it is attached;
- Sending a copy of the notice by fax to a number which the tenant has provided for service, in which case service is deemed to take place on the 3rd day after it was faxed;
- Providing the copy of the notice by any alternative service method ordered by the Residential Tenancy Branch.
Last revised: April 17, 2016
- Once you issue a Notice to End Tenancy, you must be extremely cautious in accepting any further payment of rent from your tenant. Otherwise, you may unintentionally reinstate the tenancy. If your tenant chooses to dispute your notice, it is unlikely that you will be assigned a dispute resolution hearing date that is before the effective date of your notice. As such, there will likely be a period that is after the effective date of your notice but before the hearing date. During this period, you may still accept payment of rent from your tenant but you should inform your tenant in writing that payment is only being accepted for “use and occupancy” until the Residential Tenancy Branch rules on the validity of your notice.
- If you have issued a Notice to End Tenancy after issuing a warning letter to your tenant, you should ensure that there has been at least one subsequent breach that took place after your warning letter was received but before your notice was sent. Otherwise, the legal doctrine of estoppel may render your notice unenforceable. Also, make sure you have sufficient proof of this subsequent breach along with all other previous breaches when heading into arbitration.
- It is important to note that email is not an approved method of service and cannot be used to send any notice to the tenant. For practical reasons, you may still combine one of the approved methods of service with an email to your tenant as your tenant may receive the email faster. However, any calculation of effective dates must be done on the basis of the deemed service date of an approved method of service, regardless of whether a tenant receives your email earlier.