Rent must be paid in full and on time – by midnight on the day it’s due. If you’re mailing your payment, be sure it’s sent in time to be delivered by the due date.
A landlord and tenant agree on the amount of rent and when it’s due at the start of a tenancy. The tenancy agreement must be clear about what’s included in the rent. It can also limit the number of occupants in the unit or indicate how much additional rent is required if more people move in – these terms must be reasonable.
A tenant must pay all of the rent when it’s due. However, there are five situations when a tenant may deduct money from the rent:
- The tenant has an arbitrator’s decision allowing the deduction
- The landlord illegally increases the rent
- The landlord has overcharged for a security or pet damage deposit
- The landlord refuses the tenant’s written request for reimbursement of emergency repairs
- The tenant has the landlord’s written permission allowing a rent reduction
Note for tenants: Withholding rent for any other reason or without written permission from an arbitrator or the landlord may result in the landlord serving a 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy (PDF). Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch if you’re considering withholding rent.
Forms of Payment
The tenancy agreement can specify the forms in which rent can be paid (cash, cheque, electronic transfer, etc.). For example, post-dated cheques can be requested as long as it’s a term included in the agreement and when the tenant moves out, any remaining cheques are returned.
Receipts must be provided for rent paid in cash. This proves that the rent was paid – both landlords and tenants should keep their copy of rent receipts in a safe place.
Unpaid Rent or Utilities
A landlord can give a 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy if rent or utilities are not paid by midnight on the due date. This notice may be served to a tenant:
- The day after rent is due
- 30 days after giving a written demand for a utility payment
The notice is cancelled and the tenancy can continue if the tenant pays all the rent and utilities owing within five days of receiving the notice.
- 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy for Unpaid Rent or Utilities (PDF)
- Learn more about the 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy
Dispute resolution: After receiving a 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy, tenants have five days to either dispute the notice or pay the outstanding rent or utilities.
If the tenant does not dispute the notice, the landlord can apply for an Order of Possession and Monetary Order through the Direct Request process.
If the landlord does not have all the paperwork to complete the Direct Request process, they can apply for dispute resolution.
Even if the rent isn’t paid on time, a landlord must not remove or limit access to any of the tenant’s personal property. The landlord can only do this if:
- The court provides written permission
- The landlord has followed the required procedure for abandoned property
Several tenants included on the same tenancy agreement are called co-tenants. If the full amount of rent isn’t paid on time, the landlord can serve a notice to end tenancy, which applies to each person named on that tenancy agreement, or apply for dispute resolution against any or all of them for unpaid rent.
If your landlord dies, the executor or administrator of their estate becomes the new landlord and is responsible for any rights and obligations under the original tenancy agreement. The executor or administrator may request a change to the way rental payments are made. Those requests should be made in writing.
If it is not clear who the executor or administrator of the estate is, and you usually pay rent directly to the landlord, you should mail cheques or money orders to the address on the tenancy agreement for the landlord. If the envelope is returned as undeliverable, you should keep the returned mail as evidence that payment was attempted. Even if the cheques aren't immediately cashed, you should make sure that there is enough money in your account to cover the rent.
If you usually pay rent with cash, you should mail payment as a cheque or money order directly to the address on the tenancy agreement for the landlord, as above.
If you pay rent by post-dated cheque, it is a good idea to write a letter to the address on the tenancy agreement for the landlord telling the estate that you pay rent by post-dated cheques and informing them of how far in advance you have made payments. If the executor or administrator of the estate is unable to find the post-dated cheques, they may request replacement cheques.
If you pay rent by direct bank transfer, you should continue doing this unless the executor or administrator of the estate requests a new method of payment in writing.
If you are unsure about how to pay rent following the death of your landlord, contact the Residential Tenancy Branch for more information.
The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: March 30, 2021.