Evicting a Tenant in BC

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What You Should Know

  • There are severe consequences for not paying rent in BC. A tenant can be evicted within ten days if they miss a payment.
  • Depending on the reason for eviction, the landlord needs to provide 10 - 120 days of notice.
  • Tenants have a ranging window to dispute the eviction with the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB).
  • If a tenant refuses to leave after an RTB eviction order, the landlord can hire a bailiff who can sell the tenant's belongings to cover their fees.

To evict a tenant in BC, the landlord must provide written notice to terminate the tenancy. Depending on the reason for eviction, the tenant's notice needs to be served at least 10 - 120 days before the termination date. After receiving the eviction notice, a tenant has a short time frame to dispute the notice with the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). The RTB will listen to bort parties and determine an order. The eviction process can be tricky; this article will explain BC's various types of evictions and when to use them.

Eviction Notice for Non-Payment of Rent (10 Days Notice)

In BC, the landlord can quickly evict a tenant for not paying rent. This clause is shown in Section 46 of the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). A tenant can be evicted even if they are even a few dollars short or pay rent a day late. If the landlord decides to evict the tenant, they initiate the process by giving a ten-day notice. The notice can be served in person, dropping it in the mailbox, posting it on a door, email/fax, or through the mail.

BC Has the Highest Provincial Eviction Rate

Source: University of British Columbia Housing Research

Once the notice has been served, the tenant has five days to dispute the claim or pay the total rent. If the tenant does not do this, the landlord can apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) and receive an order of possession. After receiving the order of possession, if the tenant has still not moved out, the landlord can enforce the eviction with a court-approved bailiff. This is a serious consequence as the bailiff can sell the tenant's personal property to cover their fees.

The landlord can also evict a tenant for unpaid utilities. After demanding payment in 30 days, the landlord can issue a 10-day eviction notice if the utility payment isn't received.

COVID-19 UPDATE: During the pandemic, landlords had to devise a payment plan with tenants to pay unpaid rent. If landlords did not receive the total due rent, they could serve a ten-day eviction notice. However, unless the landlord and tenant have a different written agreement, tenants were required to make up for due rent on July 10th, 2021.

WOWA Tip: Cost of Evicting a Tenant in BC

Legal Fees$800
Court Fees$100
Sheriff Fees$150
Lost Rent$3,750
Total$4,750

To evict a tenant in BC, you must pay for legal, court, and potentially even sheriff fees. This typically amounts to roughly $1,000 out of pocket. However, there is also the opportunity cost of lost rent. The average BC eviction takes 50 days, meaning the landlord loses about $3,750 in rent (assuming $1,250 average monthly rent).

Overall, the total cost of evicting a tenant in BC amounts to $4,750. If you are concerned about losing rental payments when going through the eviction process, then rental income insurance may be right for you.

Source: SingleKey

Eviction Notice for Cause (1 Month Notice)

There are various reasons a landlord would use this notice to evict a tenant. Section 47 of the RTA provides a list of eligible reasons. Some of the most common causes include, but are not limited to:

  • Unreasonably disturbing your landlord or other occupants
  • Consistently paying rent late
  • Severely damaging your rental unit or building
  • Causing danger to the landlord or other occupants
  • Having too many occupants living in your rental unit
  • Engaging in illegal activity within the unit

If any of these causes occur, a landlord can serve a one-month eviction notice to the tenant. In this scenario, the tenant has ten days to challenge the claim by applying to a dispute resolution hearing at the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). As with Ontario evictions, the RTB will listen to both parties and decide on an order. The landlord can request an early removal in some cases, and the RTB will agree. Smart landlords also use various landlord insurance options to protect their investment from damages.

COVID-19 UPDATE: On June 30th, 2021, the provincial state of emergency ended. Under the Residential Tenancy Act, landlords can now evict tenants for any acceptable reason.

Eviction Notice for Personal Use (2 Months Notice)

Section 49 states that a landlord can evict a tenant if they decide to occupy the unit personally or with a close family member. The landlord's spouse, or the parents or children of the landlord or their spouse, are considered immediate relatives. Typically this eviction happens when a new owner purchases the unit and wants to occupy it.

After a tenant is served a two months eviction notice, they have 15 days to dispute the claim through the RTB.

Eviction Notice for Renovation or Demolition (4 Months Notice)

If a landlord plans to undertake an extensive renovation, demolish the building, or convert the property from a residential unit, they can serve a 4-month eviction notice as per Section 49. Tenants have a 30-day window to dispute the notice with the RTB.

In the case of renovations, landlords can only evict tenants for significant projects that require the unit to be empty for extended periods. Also, instead of serving a notice, the landlord must apply to receive the RTB's eviction approval. Additionally, evicted tenants have the right of first refusal when the renovations are completed. This means tenants have the first option at a new tenancy contract. Landlords must offer the right of first refusal. Otherwise, they could pay 12 months' rent to the tenant as compensation.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the BC landlord rules are more friendly than Ontario's. BC provides a quick eviction process with significant consequences if a tenant attempts to stay after eviction. There is also a great real estate market in Vancouver that offers attractive investment opportunities.

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