Do You Really Know Who Your Tenant Is?

Who really is your tenant? Recently, we came across a story that was described by the landlord as “nightmarish.”

At first glance

The landlord didn’t exactly make the right decision a month ago, when he chose to rent out a room in his home to a male, 50-some year old addiction counselor. Anyways, the landlord followed the procedure of signing a Residential Tenancy Agreement along with a one-paged addendum, received the stranger’s damage deposit and first month’s rent, and there he was, the new guy had already moved in. A week or two weeks in, things became a little strange. That’s when the landlord noticed that this new tenant was always home, despite having a full-time job, food was going missing, and he gradually became more of a nuisance. The real fact was, the tenant was drinking, lots. That’s when the landlord really started worrying about him and his family’s safety. There was no way this tenant was staying; he needed to go.

Does the Tenant Act apply?

The first thing the landlord had to clarify was whether or not his arrangement with the tenant follows the Tenancy Act. You would think that because there is a Residential Tenancy Agreement between the landlord and the tenant, that it automatically falls under the Tenancy Act. However, to the Landlord’s relief, this was not the case. The Act does not apply to “living accommodation in which the tenant shares bathroom or kitchen facilities with the owner of that accommodation (Tenancy Act Section 4c).” The landlord didn’t have to give him a One Month Notice to End Tenancy because the Act did not apply. So what happened next? Well, to say the least, the landlord had the roommate evicted.

Choosing the right tenant

It is so important to screen your prospective tenants before handing over the keys.
– Regardless of great references from a stranger, always do a BACKGROUND CHECK.
– Place your ad on the right platform: UV Rentsline (specifically for UBC students, professors), Craigslist, Padlister.
– Be detailed in your commentary: What kind of tenant are you looking for EXACTLY?
– Read the Tenancy Act carefully, and know whether or not your arrangement is with a “tenant” or a “roommate”.

Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch

If you have any questions or concerns, call the Residential Tenancy Board and one of the information officers will be able to assist. There are tons of resources online, so before signing any contractual document, know your rights as a landlord.

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