Two Month Notice to End Tenancy

A landlord can serve a tenant with a Two Month Notice to End Tenancy (PDF, 2.2MB) when the:

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Landlord’s Use of Property

Landlord’s use of property applies when the landlord:

  • Moves in or has a close family member live in the rental unit
  • Sells the property and the new owner, or a close family member of the new owner, plans to live in the rental unit

If a rental property is sold, there are two ways a tenancy can be ended if, in good faith, the buyer plans to occupy the unit or use the property for another purpose:

  1. The buyer makes a written request to the seller to end the tenancy before they take possession of the property (this cannot be a condition of sale) – the existing landlord then must give their tenant a Two Month Notice to End Tenancy for Landlord’s Use of Property.
  2. Once the buyer takes possession of the property, they can serve a Two Month Notice to End Tenancy for Landlord’s Use of Property

Unless a landlord (seller or buyer) serves a proper notice to end tenancy, the tenancy continues under the terms of the original tenancy agreement.

Close family member: This means the father, mother or child of the landlord or the landlord’s spouse – it doesn’t include the brother or sister of the landlord or the brother or sister of the landlord’s spouse. If a family corporation owns the rental unit, then a close family member would also include an individual who owns, or whose close family member owns, all the voting shares.

Major Construction

When possible, renovations should be done without evicting the tenant. For example, if the renovations require the unit to be vacant for a short period, the tenant could be relocated and later return to the unit at the same rent.

Major construction means:

  • Demolishing the rental unit or doing major renovations that require the building or rental unit to be empty for the work to be done
  • Converting the rental unit to a strata property unit, a not-for-profit housing co-operative or a caretaker’s unit
  • Converting the rental unit for non-residential use, such as a shop. People can occupy the unit, but it must no longer be a rental unit.

The landlord must have all required government permits and approvals in place before issuing the notice for any of the above reasons.

Tenant No Longer Qualifies for Subsidized Rental Unit

A public housing body acting as a landlord may serve a Two Month Notice to End Tenancy if the tenant no longer qualifies for a subsidized rental unit. The tenancy agreement must clearly say that the tenancy will end if the tenant no longer qualifies for the subsidy.

A landlord who provides rental housing where rent is geared to income may be considered a public housing body if they are a government agency or have an agreement with a government agency to provide rental housing.

Doing it Right

A landlord must serve the Two Month Notice to End Tenancy so that it’s received:

  • At least two months before the effective date of the notice, and
  • Before the day that rent is due

For example, a notice given on March 15 would take effect on the last day of May.

To avoid disputes, both the landlord and tenant should be clear about when the tenant’s notice is effective – that is, which date they will move out and whether more rent will be paid.

By law, tenants must always be given the right amount of notice – even if the landlord uses an incorrect date. This correction can be made without having to go through the dispute resolution process. If you’re unsure about the effective date of a notice to end tenancy, please contact the Residential Tenancy Branch.

All Notices to End Tenancy have two pages – it’s only valid if the landlord serves both pages to the tenant. There are rules about how and when a landlord can serve notice – be sure to do it correctly:

Good Faith Requirement

A landlord must act in good faith if they plan to end a tenancy to:

  • Move into the unit, or have a close family member live in it
  • Sell the property and the new owner, or a close family member of the new owner, plans to live in the rental unit
  • Have major construction completed in or near the unit

That means the landlord has honest intentions and no ulterior motive to take advantage of a situation. The landlord must honestly intend to use the rental site for the purposes stated on the notice to end the tenancy.

Compensation

When a landlord ends a tenancy for landlord’s use of property or to do major construction, the landlord must give the tenant the equivalent of one month’s rent on or before the effective date of the landlord's notice. This is true even if the tenant pays rent for the last month.

The tenant must pay the rent for all or any part of the time they stay during the notice period; though, they may choose to keep the last month’s rent in lieu of compensation.

If the tenant has already paid the last month’s rent and chooses to give 10 days’ written notice to leave before the effective date of the notice, the landlord must pay the tenant a pro-rated amount in addition to the required compensation equal to one-month’s rent. The pro-rated amount is calculated on a daily basis.

To clarify, here are some examples of common situations in which compensation under a Two Month Notice to End Tenancy may be settled:

  1. The tenant receives notice on July 31st, pays rent August 1st and stays for the full two month period, withholding September’s rent. The compensation is taken as a free final month
  2. The tenant receives notice on July 31st, pays rent August 1st and hands the landlord 10 days’ written notice on August 1st to leave by August 11th. On or before the effective date of the notice (in this case, September 30th), the landlord pays the tenant compensation equal to one month’s rent plus the balance of the rent the tenant paid for August (in this case 20 days)
  3. The tenant receives notice on July 31st, pays rent August 1st and hands the landlord 10 days’ written notice on August 25th to leave by September 4th. In this case, on or before September 30th, the landlord would pay the tenant an amount equal to 26 days’ rent, the balance of the compensation owed under the notice

Fixed-term tenancies: Neither party in a fixed-term agreement (or lease) can end the tenancy early. If both parties agree to end it early, they can complete the Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy form (PDF, 1.6MB).

A Notice to End Tenancy is not required for fixed-term tenancies where a tenant is required to move out at the end of the term. However, a Two Month Notice to End Tenancy can be served to tenants who are not required to leave at the end of the fixed term and it converts to a month-to-month tenancy. The landlord must:

  • Use an effective date that is on or after the date the fixed term ends
  • Pay the tenant compensation equal to one month’s rent on or before the effective date of the notice

A tenant can choose to leave sooner by giving the landlord 10 days’ notice in writing; however, the effective date can only be on or after the date their fixed-term tenancy ends.

Additional compensation: If the rental unit isn’t used for the reasons given in the notice within a reasonable period of time, the tenant may apply for dispute resolution and request compensation equal to two months’ rent. At the hearing, the landlord should be prepared to show that the rental unit was used for the reasons given in the notice.

Move Out Date

A tenant who does not dispute the notice within fifteen days of receiving it must move out on or before 1 p.m. on the effective date of the notice.

Month-to-month tenancies: A tenant can leave earlier than the effective date by giving the landlord at least 10 days’ written notice and paying the rent up to and including, the planned move-out date. Where the tenant has already paid a full month’s rent, the landlord must refund the remainder of the rent. In addition, the landlord must pay any remaining amount of the compensation.

Fixed-term tenancies: The tenant cannot be required to move out before the end of the fixed term as stated in the tenancy agreement. However, the landlord and tenant can agree in writing to an earlier end of tenancy using the using the Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy form (PDF, 1.6MB). If the tenancy agreement requires the tenant to move out at the end of a fixed term, the landlord doesn’t need to give the tenant a Two Month Notice to End Tenancy and the tenant must leave at the end of the term. In this case, the landlord doesn’t have to pay the tenant any compensation.

Disputing a Notice to End Tenancy

Because legal notice has been served, tenants who disagree with a two month notice to end tenancy need to apply for dispute resolution – writing a letter or talking to the landlord isn’t enough. Within 15 days of receiving the notice, submit the Tenant’s Application for Dispute Resolution (PDF) to the Residential Tenancy Branch along with a copy of the Notice to End Tenancy.

If a tenant disputes a notice by the 15-day deadline, the notice is suspended until an arbitrator makes a decision. A tenant must move out within two months of receiving the notice if they do not dispute it.

When a landlord has served a notice to end tenancy, and the tenant has disputed the notice, the landlord continues to be entitled to payment of rent or payment for use and occupancy while awaiting resolution of the dispute.

The landlord also continues to be entitled to payment for use and occupancy when a tenant does not move out by the effective date of a notice to end tenancy that the tenant has not disputed.  In this case, the landlord may apply for dispute resolution seeking an order of possession and accept payment for use and occupancy while awaiting dispute resolution.

When accepting payment for use and occupancy, the landlord should state in writing that:

  • The payment for rent or utilities is being accepted for use and occupancy only – it does not cancel the notice to end tenancy
  • The tenant must still move out

Note: The “use and occupancy” arrangement is short-term—it allows use and occupancy only for the period of the payment and does not reinstate the tenancy.  If, in a dispute resolution hearing, a party claims that tenancy has been reinstated, an arbitrator will consider all the circumstances including the intent of both parties when exchanging payment.

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