Moving In and Moving Out in Residential Tenancies (19:III)
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 10, 2021.|
A. Condition Inspection: Move In and Move Out
The landlord and tenant together must inspect the condition of the rental unit on the day the tenant is entitled to possession of the rental unit or on another mutually agreed day (RTA, s 23 (1)), and once more on a mutually agreed day when the tenant moves out. Both the landlord and the tenant must sign the Condition Inspection Report and the landlord must give the tenant a copy of that report. The RTA requires that certain standard information be included on a condition inspection report. Generally, the landlord should use RTB official forms, which contain all of the information required by law. Landlords can use their own forms so long as the forms used contain all the information required in s 20 of the RTR. Landlords must give tenants a copy of the signed condition inspection report within seven days after the condition inspection is completed.
NOTE: RTA s 23, Condition Inspection Report: Start of Tenancy, and RTA s 24: consequences if report requirements are not met, do not apply to a landlord or tenant in respect of a tenancy that started before January 1, 2004.
The landlord must conduct the inspection and complete and sign the report even if the tenant refuses to participate. The right of a landlord to claim against a security or pet damage deposit for damage to the residential property is extinguished if the landlord does any of the following acts or omissions contained in RTA ss. 23 and 24(2):
- fails to offer the tenant at least two opportunities for the inspection;
- does not participate in the inspection; or
- does not complete the condition inspection report and give the tenant a copy of it in accordance with the regulations.
The right of a tenant to the return of a security deposit or a pet damage deposit, or both, is extinguished if the landlord has complied with s 23(3), given two opportunities for inspection, and the tenant has not participated on either occasion.
B. Condition: Moving Out
The landlord and tenant together must inspect the condition of the rental unit before a new tenant begins to occupy the rental unit on or after the day the tenant ceases to occupy the rental unit, or on another mutually agreed day (RTA, s 35(1)). The landlord must offer the tenant at least two opportunities for the inspection and must complete the inspection report in accordance with the RTR. Both the landlord and tenant must sign the condition inspection report and the landlord must give the tenant a copy of that report in accordance with the RTR – within 15 days of the date the condition inspection is completed or the date the landlord receives the tenant’s forwarding address in writing, whichever is later.
Unless the tenant abandons a rental unit, the right of the landlord to claim against a security or a pet damage deposit, or both, for damage to residential property is extinguished if the landlord does not offer the tenant at least two opportunities for the inspection or does not participate on either occasion, or having made an inspection with the tenant does not complete the condition inspection report and give the tenant a copy of it in accordance with the RTR.
The right of a tenant to the return of a security deposit or a pet damage deposit, or both is extinguished if the landlord complies with RTA s 35 (provides two opportunities for inspections), and the tenant has not participated on either occasion (s 36(1)).
C. Re-keying Locks for New Tenants
At the request of a tenant at the start of a new tenancy, the landlord must re-key the locks or other means of access given to the previous tenant, and pay all costs associated with the changes. If the landlord at the end of the previous tenancy altered the locking system, the landlord need not do so again (RTA, s 25).
D. Duty to Provide a Copy of the Agreement
Section 13(3) of the RTA provides that within 21 days after a landlord and tenant enter into a tenancy agreement, the landlord must give the tenant a copy of the agreement.
E. Obligations on Move Out
1. Tenant Obligations
- Give proper notice;
- participate in move-out condition inspection;
- leave the unit clean;
- repair damage caused (above normal wear and tear), including damage caused by guests or pets above normal wear and tear levels; and
- remove all possessions from the rental unit and the residential property.
2. Landlord Obligations
- Give proper notice;
- schedule and participate in the move-out condition inspection and provide the tenant with a copy of the condition inspection report; and
- return security deposit and pet damage deposit or file to retain them in accordance with the RTA
F. Breaking a Fixed Term Tenancy
If a tenant moves out before their fixed term ends without finding another tenant approved by the landlord to take over the fixed term tenancy, the tenant may be responsible for the landlord’s advertising and administrative costs incurred in finding a new tenant, as well as rent (at the tenancy agreement rate) until the unit is rented or the fixed term expires.
NOTE: Refer to the tenancy agreement, as some agreements will have move-out clauses that will express what a tenant’s obligations will be upon breaking their fixed term tenancy.
NOTE: A landlord cannot evict a tenant except for cause during the term of a fixed-term tenancy. A landlord may not give notice before the end of the fixed term even if the property is sold or the landlord’s family wishes to move into the rental unit.
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