Prior to a fixed term tenancy agreement expiring, it is the responsibility of the landlord and tenant to either re-negotiate the terms of the agreement or to terminate the tenancy agreement upon its end date. A tenant who gives written notice to end a fixed term tenancy agreement before the expiry date, may be held liable for all costs the landlord incurs to re-rent the premises, including any losses rent. Landlords may end a tenancy only for specified reasons as set out in the legislation and cannot end a tenancy simply because a fixed term has expired unless the agreement clearly states that the tenant will vacate at the end of the term. When a fixed term tenancy reverts to a month to month tenancy, the landlord is not permitted to force a tenant to sign another lease or agree to another fixed term. When a tenancy agreement is renewed, landlords and tenants may agree to the same or different terms as the previous agreement.
Early termination can be enforced by the RTB where there are urgent situations involving ones safety, cause or conduct. All other tenancies are ended: by the landlord on a notice to end tenancy form; on written notice by the tenant; or by written Agreement between the parties.
If a tenant wishes to terminate their tenancy, they must give the landlord one rental month’s notice in writing the day before the rent is due. If the landlord wishes to end a tenancy, one of the province’s approved notice to end a tenancy form must be used.
Landlords must allow tenants these notice periods depending on the reason for notice given:
- 10 days for non-payment of rent
- 1 month for cause or conduct
- 2 months for landlord’s use of property in a residential tenancy
- 2 months if the tenant ceases to qualify for a subsidized rental unit in residential tenancy
- 12 months for the landlord’s use of property in a manufactured home site
There are many reasons why a landlord may evict a tenant and the rules that apply to them vary. They include:
- Material breach of a rental agreement is the reason used if the tenant is in breach of the agreement and has been given one written warning and a reasonable time to comply, or correct the breach. Breach of agreement requires one month’s notice
- For non-payment of rent, landlord can provide the tenant with 10 days notice. The tenant may cancel the eviction notice by paying rent in full within five days. On the contrary, a tenant may apply for dispute resolution within that same five-day period. Failure in doing so, the tenant must vacate in 10 days
- Cause or conduct requires one month’s notice; a tenant has 10 days to apply for dispute resolution
- Landlord’s use of property requires 2 month’s notice with a 15-day dispute period. Landlords are required to pay the equivalent of 1 month’s rent to the tenant on or before the effective date of the end of tenancy. For manufactured home sites, 12 month’s notice is required with a 15 day dispute period.
- Tenant ceases to qualify for subsidized rental unit (residential tenancy) requires 2 month’s notice with 15-day dispute period
If tenant files to dispute the notice, the landlord must prove through evidence that there is a valid reason to end the tenancy.
If a tenant does not dispute the notice to end tenancy, then it is deemed that the tenant has accepted the end of tenancy. If tenant does not move, the landlord may apply for an order of possession, enforceable through the Supreme Court, by a bailiff.
A decision ordered by the RTB is final and binding. It may be reviewed by the RTB if the initial decision was obtained by fraud, if evidence arises that was not available at the time of the hearing or if a party was not able to attend because of an unforeseen circumstance. In addition, either party may petition the BC Supreme Court for a judicial review on the basis of an error in law, or an error in procedural fairness.