Starting a Tenancy

Before renting a property, landlords and tenants should be familiar with the rules and regulations that govern how residential properties or units are rented in B.C.

These rules do not apply to cooperative housing, transitional housing, homestay programs or vacation rental programs.

  • Tenancy agreements: Know what to expect when entering into this kind of agreement
  • Deposits: Get information about the different types of deposits and fees required by landlords
  • Pets: Landlords and tenants should discuss whether pets will be allowed in a rental unit
  • Moving in: Review these landlord and tenant responsibilities to help ensure moving day goes smoothly

Landlords Should Also Consider...

Keep rental properties in good condition – they should meet health, safety and housing standards.

Carefully assess the suitability of any new tenant:

  • Ask for proof of identity
  • Thoroughly check all references
  • Contact previous landlords to ask about rental and payment history
  • Conduct a credit check to confirm income and financial suitability
  • Get the names of all persons to be living in the rental unit

Tenants Should Also Consider...

If a security deposit or pet damage deposit is required, pay the deposit(s) in full. Never pay a deposit before viewing a rental unit.

Before moving in, walk through the residential rental unit and complete an inspection report with your landlord.

Also consider:

  • Is the agreement with the owner of the property (or the landlord) or is it just an agreement with a roommate (if so, the Residential Tenancy Act does not apply)?

  • Does the agreement allow you to add a roommate without the landlord’s permission?

  • Is the tenancy agreement month-to-month or for a fixed length of time?

  • Is a security or pet damage deposit required?
  • Are things like parking, storage, laundry or utilities included in the tenancy agreement?
  • What are the rules of the building or property?

Protection from Discrimination

A landlord cannot refuse to rent to a tenant based on their race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, gender, sexual orientation, age or lawful source of income.

Here are some examples:

  • Income assistance is a lawful source of income – a landlord can’t refuse to rent to someone for this reason
  • In most cases, a landlord can’t refuse to rent a property to a family with children, though, they can limit the number of people living in a rental unit
  • According to the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act (External Link), a landlord cannot refuse renting to or require a pet deposit from a tenant with a certified guide animal

There are some exceptions that include:

  • The rental unit is a building or development reserved for people age 55 or older
  • The rental unit is designated for people with disabilities
  • The owner of the accommodation will share a bathroom or kitchen with the tenant

For more information about protection from discrimination, contact the Human Rights Tribunal (External Link).

Protection of Personal Information

It’s reasonable to expect landlords to ask potential tenants for certain types of personal information like proof of income, references or identification. This information should only be used for completing the application process – to verify income or perform a credit check. Providing this information should not be a condition for renting.

Use of personal information is governed by privacy laws, so landlords can’t use any information they collect for something unrelated to the tenancy. They also cannot ask for information that would be unreasonable to share – like credit card numbers.

If you have concerns about the protection of your personal information, contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia (External Link).

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