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 propertySomething which can be owned. See "chattels" and "real 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 causeIn law, a lawsuit, an action, or a cause of action; the wrongful act of another which gives rise to a claim for relief. See "action," "cause of action.", such as:
- repeatedly paying your rent late (three times would be considered "repeated"),
- subletting your place without the landlord’s consentAgreement; the giving of permission for a thing to happen or not happen.,
- damaging the place beyond reasonable wear and tear,
- jeopardizing safety,
- unreasonably disturbing your neighbours,
- breaking a "materialIn law, something that is relevant, important. A material fact is a fact relevant to a claim or a defence to a claim. See "claim," "evidence," and "fact." 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 orderA mandatory direction of the court, binding and enforceable upon the parties to a court proceeding. An "interim order" is a temporary order made following the hearing of an interim application. A "final order" is a permanent order, made following the trial of the court proceeding or the parties' settlement, following which the only recourse open to a dissatisfied party is to appeal. See "appeal," "consent order," "decision" and "declaration." 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 spouseUnder the ''Divorce Act'', either of two people who are married to one another, whether of the same or opposite genders. Under the ''Family Law Act'', married spouses, unmarried parties who have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years, and, for all purposes of the act other than the division of property or debt, unmarried parties who have lived together for less than two years but have had a child together. See "marriage" and "marriage-like relationship.", 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 resolutionA phrase referring to a family of processes used for resolving legal disputes including negotiation, collaborative settlement processes, mediation, arbitration and litigation.. 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 applicationA request to the court that it make an order for a specific remedy or relief usually on an interim or temporary basis, also called a "chambers application" or a "motion." See also "interim application" and "relief.".
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 hearingIn law, any proceeding before a judicial official to determine questions of law and questions of fact, including the hearing of an application and the hearing of a trial. See "decision" and "evidence." 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 evidenceFacts or proof of facts presented to a judge at a hearing or trial. Evidence can be given through the oral testimony of witnesses, in writing as business records and other documents, or in the form of physical objects. Evidence must be admissible according to the rules of court and the rules of evidence. See "circumstantial evidence," "hearsay," and "testimony." 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 decisionIn law, a judge's conclusions after hearing argument and considering the evidence presented at a trial or an application; a judgment; the judge's reasons. A judge's written or oral decision will include the judge's conclusions about the relief or remedies claimed as well as his or her findings of fact and conclusions of law. A written decision is called the judge’s "reasons for judgment." See "common law," "conclusions of law," and "findings of fact." about whether or not you can stay in your place.
If you don't like the decision, you can apply to reviewIn law, the re-examination of a term of an order or agreement, usually to determine whether the term remains fair and appropriate in light of the circumstances prevailing at the time of the review. In family law, particularly the review of an order or agreement provided for the payment of spousal support. See "de novo," "family law agreements," "order" and "spousal support." 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 judgeA person appointed by the federal or provincial governments to manage and decide court proceedings in an impartial manner, independent of influence by the parties, the government or agents of the government. The decisions of a judge are binding upon the parties to the proceeding, and are subject to appeal. can review an arbitrator's decision. You will need advice from a lawyerA person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. See "barrister and solicitor." 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 advocateA lawyer or a person other than a lawyer who helps clients with legal issues; to advocate a position on behalf of a client., complete the form Preparing for Your Interview included in this Guide. Make sure you bring copies of all documents relating to your caseIn law, a court proceeding; a lawsuit; an action; a cause of action; a claim. Also the historic decisions of the court. See "action," "case law, " "court proceeding," and "precedent.".
||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.|