As part of the tenancy agreement, tenants have a right to peace, quiet and privacy in their homes – a right that comes from the common law principle of quiet enjoyment. That means every tenant has the right to:
- Reasonable privacy
- Freedom from unreasonable disturbance
- Exclusive possession of the rental unit, subject only to the landlord's right to enter the rental unit in accordance with the laws
- Use of common areas (like hallways, yards or laundry facilities) for reasonable and lawful purposes, free from significant interference
Quiet enjoyment may also include the tenant’s right to have guests, cook foods of their choice, play music at a reasonable level during acceptable hours, practice their religion, and have the use of all the services and facilities described in the tenancy agreement, maintained in good repair.
A landlord must provide quiet enjoyment to all tenants. Upon getting a disturbance complaint from a tenant, the landlord must take steps to fix the problem.
For example, a landlord may need to speak to a tenant about noise if it bothers neighbouring tenants. In this type of a situation, the landlord should:
- Talk to the disruptive tenant(s) about the problem
- Let the tenant who complained know what’s being done to address the issue
- Follow up with the disruptive tenant in writing (e.g. a “breach letter”) to explain:
- The details of the problem
- The reasonable amount of time allotted to resolve the problem
- What may happen if the tenant doesn’t fix the problem (e.g. serve notice to end the tenancy)
Tenants must make sure they, their guests and their pets don’t unreasonably disturb other occupants. If there are disturbances like unreasonable noise, excessive second-hand smoke or harassment from a neighbouring tenant of the same landlord, the tenant should speak to the landlord about the issue.
If tenants are unreasonably disturbed and the landlord doesn’t take action, tenants may apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for dispute resolution.
The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: June 3, 2020.