Eviction for Occupancy by the Landlord or the Landlord’s Close Family Member

How can I evict my tenant if I want to regain possession of the rental unit for my own occupancy?

BC Landlord Guide- Eviction for Occupancy by the Landlord or the Landlord’s Close Family Member
How can I evict my tenant if I want to regain possession of the rental unit for my own occupancy?

A landlord may issue a Two-Month Notice to End Tenancy if the landlord wishes to regain possession of the rental unit, in good faith, for the landlord’s own occupancy or for occupancy by one or more of the landlord’s close family members.

The term “close family member” includes the landlord’s parents, spouse and children as well as the landlord’s spouse’s parents and children. Notably, neither the landlord’s siblings nor cousins fall within the definition of this term. However, if the landlord is a family corporation, the principle shareholder’s brother, sister or close family member who holds voting shares would be eligible to take over occupancy of the rental unit, as would the principle shareholder.

Where the tenancy is on a month-to-month basis, the landlord’s notice is effective not earlier than two months after the date the tenant receives the notice and its effective date must be on the day before the day of the month that rent is normally due. For example, if a tenant’s rent is due on the first day of each month and the landlord intends to evict the tenant by July, the landlord may seek to terminate the tenancy on June 30th and, if so, will have to provide the tenant with their notice by April 30th.

Where the tenancy is for a fixed-term, in addition to the rules described above, the effective date of the notice may not be earlier than the date specified as the end of the fixed-term.

These grounds for eviction require the landlord to be acting in good faith. Practically speaking, this means that the landlord must be acting with an honest intention and with no ulterior motive to defraud the tenant or to seek an unconscionable advantage.

In addition to the two months’ notice, a landlord seeking to end a tenancy to regain possession of the rental unit must provide the tenant, before the effective date of the notice, with monetary compensation equivalent to one month’s rent payable under the tenancy agreement. However, instead of having the landlord issue a separate payment for such compensation, the tenant may elect to simply withhold payment of rent for the final month of the tenancy.

Once served with a Two-Month Notice to End Tenancy, the tenant may challenge it by applying for dispute resolution within 15 days after receiving the notice. If the tenant fails to take any action within 15 days, the tenant is presumed to have accepted that the tenancy ends on the effective day of the landlord’s notice and must vacate the rental unit by that date.

Faced with such notice, the tenant may also choose to end a periodic tenancy (ex. a month-to-month tenancy) even earlier than the two-month notice period by giving the landlord at least 10 days’ written notice on any date that is earlier than the effective date of the landlord’s notice. Once this notice is issued, the tenant is only obligated to pay rent owing up to the effective date of the notice and any over-payment of rent must be refunded by the landlord. Notably, the tenant’s 10-day notice does not affect in any way the tenant’s right to one month’s monetary compensation by the landlord.

In the earlier example where a landlord chooses to end the tenancy on June 30th by giving notice to their tenant on April 30th, a tenant may instead chose to move out on June 15th by giving the landlord a 10-day notice. If the tenant already paid rent for the entire month of June, the landlord will have to refund the rent paid for the second half of that month and will still owe the tenant monetary compensation in the amount of one month’s rent.

Finally, if the landlord fails to take steps to accomplish the stated purpose for ending the tenancy (ie. to personally occupy or have a close family member occupy the rental unit) within a reasonable period after the effective date of the landlord’s two-month notice or if the rental unit is not used for that stated purpose for at least 6 months beginning within a reasonable period after the effective date of the notice, the landlord must pay the tenant a penalty equivalent to twelve-times the monthly rent payable under the tenancy agreement.

However, if the Residential Tenancy Branch determines that “extenuating circumstances” prevented the landlord from fulfilling their obligation under the Act to occupy the rental unit within a reasonable period of time after the effective date of the notice and/or for a minimum period of 6 months, the landlord may be excused from this requirement.

Last revised: April 27, 2019

  • Landlords will often resort to issuing a two-month notice to end tenancy after having failed to evict the tenant for cause. Don’t make the mistake of believing that this is necessarily an easier method by which to evict your tenant. Given the good faith requirement, your intentions as a landlord may be called into question at any time and particularly in circumstances where you have been previously unsuccessful at evicting your tenant on different grounds. Previous failed eviction attempts may be taken as evidence that you’re not acting in good faith but rather, simply looking for any excuse to get rid of your tenant.
  • Also, while proving that you have not used the rental unit for the stated purpose for at least 6 months may present some challenges for the tenant as far as obtaining evidence is concerned, do not underestimate the lengths to which some former tenants, who feel that they have been wronged, may go to prove that they have been evicted under false pretenses.

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.