Get it in Writing

Landlords and tenants should keep written records of all communication between each other. This includes things like tenancy agreements, changes to tenancy agreements, permission to do anything not included in the tenancy agreement, breach letters and notices.

If a landlord and a tenant discuss an issue and agree on how to solve it, a written record or paper trail of what happened may be helpful if there is disagreement later.

The Tenancy Agreement

Changes to the tenancy agreement require written agreement from all parties to the agreement.

Written Permission

There are some things that require written permission during a tenancy. Even if written permission is not required by law, it’s a good idea to confirm verbal agreements in writing.

The tenant needs to get written permission from the landlord when they want to:

  • Sublet or assign the tenancy
  • Change the locks, if they don’t have an order from the Residential Tenancy Branch
  • End a fixed-term tenancy agreement early
  • Make changes to the rental unit such as painting, wallpapering, adding a grab bar to the bath area, changing carpet or adding an air conditioning unit
  • Apply some or all of their security deposit or pet damage deposit to the rent

The landlord needs to get written permission from the tenant when they want to:

Serving Documents or Notices

It’s important to have a copy of written documents that were shared with the other party. For example, if a tenant gives a letter to the landlord requesting repairs or a landlord provides notice to enter the rental unit. If a dispute ever occurs, evidence of when and how these documents were given will be useful.

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: September 23, 2017.

Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch