Four Things News Tenants Should Know
October 7th, 2017
The BC Residential Tenancies Act
Leaving home poses a number of challenges for students who are new to Kelowna and UBCO’s campus. Adapting to the university setting straight out of high school is hard enough without the stress of finding a place to live. For many students, living on residence is just not an option, but with living off-campus comes a whole new set of questions and anxieties. Upon finding a place to live, students are assumed to understand their rights and responsibilities as tenants and to sign a legally-binding contract—daunting tasks, given the multitude of other seemingly more important things that need to get done within the first few weeks of classes. So here is a breakdown of four of the most important things students should know about The BC Residential Tenancies Act.
- Security or damage deposits cannot exceed half the cost of one month’s rent
Not all landlords are created equally. While it would be wrong to treat all potential landlords with scathing suspicion, it is still wise to watch out for dishonest people. Knowing this rule beforehand can eliminate uncomfortable situations before they occur. With British Columbia’s hot rental market, some renters will use people’s desperation to their advantage and ask for more than what is allowed.
- Landlords cannot restrict your boyfriend or girlfriend from visiting or staying the night
Assuming that the space you are renting is solely yours with no common areas such as kitchens or bathrooms, your landlord does not get to decide who comes over. Of course, if your guests disturb the peace or damage property, that is another story. And, unfortunately, a pet does not count as a ‘guest’—landlords are allowed to restrict tenants from keeping pets if they so choose.
“Not all landlords are created equally.”
- Landlords must provide 24 hours of notice before entering your unit
Exceptions to this rule do exist. Landlords can enter your unit without notice in the case of an emergency, be it because of damage to heating systems or pipes, or if they have an order of the director which authorizes their entry. Otherwise, you are entitled to live in your unit peacefully without the fear of being barged in on.
- Tenants must give at least one month’s notice before terminating the lease
While this is the bare minimum by law, it may be wise to give more. It is important to build a friendly relationship with your landlord and being honest and upfront about things will facilitate that. Not only does friendliness make life easier for everyone, it will make finding another place to live easier in the future should you ever need references. Why burn a bridge if you don’t need to?