My landlord wants to evict me
If you rent your home from someone else, you are probably covered by the Residential Tenancy Act. If so, your landlord needs to have a good reason to evict you, such as if you damage his or her property, seriously disturb your neighbours or don’t pay your rent. The landlord can also ask you to leave if he or she is doing major renovations or getting a close relative to move into your place.
The landlord must give you written notice before you can be evicted:
- 10 days in advance if you haven't paid your rent on time.
- One month in advance if there is cause, such as:
- repeatedly paying your rent late (three times would be considered "repeated"),
- subletting your place without the landlord’s consent,
- damaging the place beyond reasonable wear and tear,
- jeopardizing safety,
- unreasonably disturbing your neighbours,
- breaking a "material term" in your tenancy agreement (that is, a term that is important or essential) and ignoring a written warning from your landlord, or
- you or your guests putting your landlord's property at risk or using it for an illegal purpose (the landlord may get an order for shorter notice if you have been involved in illegal activity).
- Two months in advance if the landlord is doing major renovations or a close family member moves in. Close family members include the landlord’s parents, children or spouse, or the parents or children of the landlord’s spouse.
- If you are being evicted for not paying your rent, you can pay it within five days of receiving the eviction notice. If you do this, the notice of eviction will be cancelled, unless the landlord is claiming that you have repeatedly been late in paying your rent.
- Otherwise, if you believe the landlord does not have good reason to evict you, get and complete a Tenant's Application for Dispute Resolution, available from the Residential Tenancy Branch or most Service BC (Government Agent) offices.
- Send the completed application or take it in to a Residential Tenancy Branch office or Service BC (Government Agent) office together with a filing fee of $50. For a 10 day notice, you have five days to apply for dispute resolution. For a one month notice, you have 10 days. For a two month notice, you have 15 days. If you can't afford the $50 filing fee, you can apply at the office to have the fee waived. See the Residential Tenancy Branch's Application to Waive Filing Fee to see the documents you may need to provide with that application.
What happens next
Residential Tenancy Branch staff will look at your application. After the application has been approved and you have paid your $50, you will receive hearing documents. You need to serve a copy of these documents on your landlord.
At the hearing with an arbitrator, the landlord will have to give evidence of why he or she wants to evict you. You will then be given the chance to say why you shouldn't be evicted. The arbitrator will make a decision about whether or not you can stay in your place.
If you don't like the decision, you can apply to review it by completing an Application for Review Consideration and paying a $25 filing fee. However, there will only be a review if:
- you missed the original hearing, or
- you have new evidence that was not available at the time of the original hearing, or
- the decision was obtained by fraud.
Otherwise, only a Supreme Court judge can review an arbitrator's decision. You will need advice from a lawyer to do this.
Where to get help
See the Resource List in this Guide for a list of helpful resources. Your best bets are:
- Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC), including their Tenant Survival Guide which includes a section on Evictions.
- Residential Tenancy Branch.
- PovNet, for contact and website information for tenancy advocates near you.
- Access Pro Bono, Lawyer Referral Service, and private bar lawyers.
- The Clicklaw common question "My landlord is threatening to evict me."
Before meeting with a lawyer or advocate, complete the form Preparing for Your Interview included in this Guide. Make sure you bring copies of all documents relating to your case.
||The above information does not apply if you are evicted from your home on an Indian reserve. If this happens to you, you should speak with a lawyer.|
|The above was last reviewed for legal accuracy by Andrew Sakamoto, March 2013.|
|Legal Help for British Columbians © Cliff Thorstenson and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.|