Updated April 19, 2023
In British Columbia, a landlord can evict their tenants for the typical reasons: for cause (meaning the tenant did something wrong) or for the landlord’s own use. However, the process is different depending on the reason for the eviction.
Here, we’ll explain what a landlord in BC needs to do when giving eviction notice, and the tenant’s rights if they do.
Before continuing, you may wish to visit our eviction basics page to learn about a few standard terms.
As is the case in every province, a tenant’s most important responsibility is paying the rent on time. In BC, if a tenant misses their rent payment by even a single day, the landlord can serve a 10 Day Eviction Notice for Non-Payment of Rent.
For the notice to be valid, it must be on the official government form, and it must include all pages of the form. The move out date is 10 days after the tenant receives the notice. The date the tenant officially receives the notice depends on how the landlord serves it.
The tenant is considered to have received the notice:
Once a tenant has received the notice, they have just five days to respond. If they pay the outstanding rent in full within those five days, the notice is cancelled and life goes on.
If the tenant believes their landlord is mistaken (or lying) about the unpaid rent, they must apply for dispute resolution within those five days. The notice form includes instructions for disputing it, but the main methods are:
After filing for dispute resolution, an arbitrator will hear the case and either uphold or cancel the notice. The tenant can remain in the rental unit until the hearing is concluded and the arbitrator has issued a decision.
If the tenant does not pay the rent or apply for dispute resolution within five days of receiving the notice, they must vacate the rental unit by the end of the tenth day.
If a tenant is expected to pay utilities, the landlord can evict them for failing to do that, too.
However, in this case, the landlord must give the tenant 30 days’ written notice of the unpaid utilities. If the tenant hasn’t paid after 30 days, the landlord serves the 10-day notice form and the process proceeds as it would with unpaid rent.
Under certain circumstances, the landlord can issue a One Month Notice to End Tenancy. This is known as an eviction “for cause.” There are specific reasons for which a landlord can evict a tenant for cause in BC:
The tenant or their guests have:
After receiving a one-month notice, the tenant has 10 days to apply for dispute resolution if the reason for the notice was unfair. Just like with non-payment evictions, if a tenant applies for dispute resolution, the eviction notice is suspended until the arbitration is concluded.
If a tenant does not dispute the notice, or the arbitration ends in the landlord’s favour, the tenant must move out by the specified date. Normally, this is the final day of the following month (for example, February 28 if the notice is given in January). The landlord must give at least one month notice, and notice must be issued before that month’s rent is paid. For example, if rent is paid on the first of each month, and a landlord gives a one-month notice on March 1, the tenant still would have until April 30 to move out (though they’d still just have 10 days to apply for dispute resolution).
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BC’s eviction rules separate landlord’s use into three categories:
What happens after these notices depends on the type of tenancy agreement. For a month-to-month tenancy, the tenant has two months to move out after the next day the rent is due. For example, if the landlord gives two-month notice on January 15, and rent is due on February 1, the tenant would have to move out by March 31.
For tenants on fixed-term tenancies, the landlord cannot end the tenancy early, and they must compensate the tenant one month’s rent when they do end the tenancy (or waive their final month’s rent payment). So, if a tenant has a one-year tenancy agreement ending on June 30, and the landlord wishes to use the unit on January 1, they can issue a two-month notice on January 1, but the tenant can still stay until June 30 if they wish. The same applies for four-month notices.
If the tenant has reason to think that the landlord isn’t being genuine about their reason for ending the tenancy, they can apply for dispute resolution. They have to do so within 15 days of receiving the two-month notice, or within 30 days of receiving a four-month notice.
Now, the process for that third point is a little different:
Renoviction is the term for a landlord evicting a tenant to do extensive renovations to their unit. To reduce bad faith renovictions, BC introduced new rules that landlords must follow when evicting their tenants for this reason.
When ending a tenancy for renovations, a landlord cannot simply serve the tenant with a notice to end the tenancy. Instead, they must apply to the RTB for a dispute resolution hearing. At this hearing, they must demonstrate to the arbitrator that they actually plan to do the renovations and that it’s necessary for the tenant to move out.
Only if the arbitrator rules in the landlord’s favour will the tenant have to leave (and they’ll have at least 4 months to do so).
If the building has more than 5 rental units, the tenant has the right of first refusal to move back into the unit once the renovations are complete. If they wish to do so, they must give the landlord the official form before they vacate the unit.
When evicting a tenant for their own use of the unit, the landlord must actually do what they’ve said they will. They must actually follow through on their given reason for ending the tenancy for at least six months after the tenant has moved out. For example, if the landlord said they were going to move into the unit themselves, they need to move in and live there at least six months.
If a landlord lies about their reason for ending the tenancy, it’s known as a bad-faith eviction. If the tenant moves out and later learns that the landlord didn’t abide by the rules above, they can apply to the RTB for compensation. If they do, the landlord must prove that they used the rental unit for the stated purpose. If the RTB rules against the landlord, they may be ordered to pay 12 months’ rent to the tenant as compensation.
Home insurance doesn’t often come into play when dealing with evictions, but there are a couple things you may want to be aware of.
First, a common question is: can a landlord evict you for not having tenant insurance? The answer is, no, not directly—Tenant insurance in BC isn’t a requirement by law. However, landlords in BC are permitted to require tenant insurance in the lease agreement. If a tenant signs a lease agreement that requires them to maintain an active tenant insurance policy, they need to do so. Otherwise, they’d be in breach of the agreement and the landlord could, indeed, start the eviction process.
One other home insurance consideration for tenants would be products like Square One’s legal protection insurance. If a tenant had purchased coverage like this, they would have access to a legal helpline to offer guidance with the eviction appeal and hearing process.
Contrary to a common misconception, tenants in BC can be evicted at any time of year, as long as their landlord follows the correct procedure.
If a tenant doesn’t leave by the date stated on an Order of Possession granted by the RTB, the landlord can’t physically remove them. That means the landlord cannot change the locks of the unit, nor remove the tenant’s belongings.
To remove a tenant that’s staying past the termination date, the landlord must serve them with a copy of the Order of Possession, then wait two days for the tenant to leave. If they don’t, the landlord then must obtain a Writ of Possession from the BC Supreme Court. With that Writ of Possession, the landlord can hire a bailiff to physically remove the tenant.
There’s nothing in BC that prohibits a landlord from offering a tenant a buyout to end the tenancy early. However, the tenant is under no obligation to accept any such offer.
Want to learn more? Visit our Renter resource centre for more tips and information about life as a renter. Or, get an online quote in under 5 minutes and find out how affordable personalized home insurance can be.
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