What is Eviction?

Eviction is the process of being asked to leave your rental unit permanently prior to the end of your term. Your landlord must have a valid reason for ending a tenancy in compliance with the guidelines of the Residential Tenancy Act or the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act.

Depending on why you have been evicted you are entitled to a different length of notice. For example, if you are being evicted for not paying rent, you must be given ten days notice. If you are being evicted because your landlord would like to move in to your rental unit, you must be given two months notice. If you feel that you are being evicted illegally, immediately file for dispute resolution with the Residential Tenancy Branch of British Columbia. For more information, see the Dispute Resolution section.

Eviction for not Paying Rent

If you do not pay your rent or are late paying your rent, your landlord can serve you with an eviction notice.  Notice of eviction for not paying rent is a ten-day eviction notice and can be filed one day after the rent was due. To see a copy of what your eviction notice should look like, click here.

If your landlord has served your eviction notice incorrectly it may be invalid, but never ignore an eviction notice even if it is invalid. If you receive this eviction notice you must pay your rent within five days, file for dispute resolution with the Residential Tenancy Branch of British Columbia (see Dispute Resolution section) within five days, or vacate your rental unit within ten days. You may be evicted for not paying your rent at all or for paying only a portion of your rent.

If you have simply forgotten to pay your rent, contact your landlord immediately and pay your rent as soon as possible. If your rent is paid in full within five days of the eviction notice, the eviction will be cancelled and you can continue to live in your rental unit. Get a receipt when you pay this rent to have a record that you cannot be evicted. It is also a good idea to bring a second person with you as a witness.

If you have paid your rent and you are served with an eviction notice, file for Dispute Resolution with the Residential Tenancy Branch immediately. You must do this within five days of receiving the eviction notice. For more information, see the Dispute Resolution section. The Residential Tenancy Branch will rule on your case.

If you are holding back part of your rent in compensation for the cost of an emergency repair that your landlord has not reimburse you for, file for dispute resolution with the Residential Tenancy Branch immediately. You must file for dispute resolution within five days of receiving the eviction notice. There are very limited circumstances in which you may hold back rent from your landlord. It is best to pay your rent in full and deal with the unpaid bills through dispute resolution, to ensure that you will not be evicted from your rental unit.

Eviction for Cause

Eviction for cause is being evicted as a result of something you have done in the rental unit or surrounding rental unit. Common causes for eviction include disturbing your neighbours, doing serious damage to the rental unit, adopting a pet where your lease agreement does not allow one, or repeatedly paying your rent late. There are many other legitimate causes for eviction. Your eviction notice will state why you are being evicted. If you have any difficulty understanding your eviction notice come by your Students’ Union and we will meet with you to go over and explain your eviction notice.

Notice of eviction for cause is a one-month eviction notice and can be filed at any time. To see a copy of what your eviction notice should look like, click here. If your landlord has served your eviction notice incorrectly it may be invalid, but never ignore an eviction notice even if it is invalid.

If you would like to challenge the eviction, you must apply for dispute resolution with the Residential Tenancy Branch within ten days of receiving the eviction notice. You can choose to challenge an eviction notice if you feel you are being evicted unfairly or against the terms of your lease or the Residential Tenancy Act. To challenge an eviction you must file for dispute resolution within ten days of receiving notice. For more information, see the Dispute Resolution section.

Eviction for Illegal Activity

You can be evicted for illegal activity. You do not need to be convicted of a crime to be evicted for illegal activity. For example, if you consume illicit drugs in your rental unit, your landlord may evict you even if you have not been arrested or charged by a court..

The standard eviction notice for illegal activity is one-month notice; however, your landlord may choose to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch of British Columbia to have you evicted immediately. To do this, your landlord will file paperwork with the Residential Tenancy Branch stating what illegal activity you engaged in, and requesting permission to evict you immediately. Unless the Residential Tenancy Branch gives your landlord permission, you cannot be evicted without one-month notice. If your landlord attempts to evict you without notice for illegal activity, request a copy of all evictions paperwork between your landlord and the Residential Tenancy Branch.

If you would like to challenge an eviction on the grounds of illegal activity, you must file for dispute resolution within ten days of receiving a one-moth eviction notice. For more information, see the Dispute Resolution section.

Eviction for Landlord Use

You may be evicted from your rental unit without having violated your lease or the law if your landlord would like to use the rental for his or her own purposes. Landlord use can be through various avenues: your landlord or one of their family members would like to live in the rental unit you are currently living in, your landlord would like to complete renovations that require an empty rental unit, or your landlord would like to demolish the building you are living in. You cannot be evicted because your landlord would simply like to rent to someone else or increase the rent.

If you are evicted for landlord use, you will receive a two-month eviction notice. If you would like to see a copy of what the eviction notice should look like, click here. In addition, your landlord must provide you with one-month’s rent in compensation for the eviction. This means that you must be either given the full cost of one month’s rent or your final month of rent must be free. If you would like to challenge the eviction, you must file for dispute resolution within 15 days of receiving the eviction notice. For more information, see the Dispute Resolution section.

If you are being evicted for landlord use and you find a new place to live, you may move out without giving the standard one-month notice. This is called short-notice. Short notice means that you are only required to provide your landlord with ten days notice and you are required to pay rent only for the days that you live in the apartment up to the end of your notice. If you have already paid a full month’s rent, your landlord must reimburse part of your rent for that month. For example, if you find a place to live on the 6th of the month and you give your ten days notice, your landlord is required to return any rent paid for the 17th to the end of the month. To determine how much money your landlord is required to pay, take the amount of one month’s rent, divide it by the number of days in the month, and multiply it by the number of days left in the month after your notice.

You are still entitled to one month’s rent in compensation if you move out early. Even if you move out before the two-month notice is over, your landlord must give you one month’s rent or provide you with the last month you lived in the rental for free.

What if my landlord does not use the rental for what eviction notice stated?

If you are evicted for landlord use, and your landlord does not use the rental unit in the way that the eviction notice states, you can file for dispute resolution with the Residential Tenancy Branch. In this case, you will eligible for double one month’s rent in compensation. For example, if your rent was $600 a month when you lived in the rental unit, your landlord would owe you $1,200 in compensation for the illegal eviction. For more information, see the Dispute Resolution section.

A landlord may attempt to evict you using the eviction for landlord use process in order to increase the rent beyond the allowable rate and rent at the higher rate to a new tenant. This is a violation of the Residential Tenancy Act. An example is an eviction notice that states that renovations require that the rental unit be vacated, but, after the landlord makes minor improvements, the rental unit is returned to market at a substantially increased price. In this case you may file for dispute resolution with the Residential Tenancy Branch. Always keep all documentation from your eviction. If you go to dispute resolution it is important to have the entire record of your tenancy (lease, move-in inspection, eviction notice, etc).

Can my landlord evict me if my lease has not run out yet?

Depending on the reason for eviction you may or may not be evicted before the term of your lease is over. You cannot be evicted for landlord use if the term of your lease is not over. For example, if you signed a lease for one year and you have only lived in the rental unit for three months, your landlord cannot evict you for landlord use for the remaining nine months. You may, however, be evicted for illegal activity, cause, or failure to pay your rent regardless of the time elapsed in the term in your lease.