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Information for Renters

As a tenant in Vancouver, you will likely be required to submit an application and references to a potential landlord. The inner-city rental market is highly competitive, so submitting a personal letter with your application may help yours to stand out among other applications.

Once your application has been accepted by the landlord, you will enter into a written tenancy agreement that outlines the rights and responsibilities for both parties with respect to the premises. In addition to the outline of terms concerning security deposit, rent payment, rent increases, repairs, access, duration and ending the tenancy, this documentation should also include a 'move-in checklist' or inspection report assessing the condition of the unit before move-in. Additional negotiable terms may be payment of utility costs, pet arrangements, parking provisions and decorating allowances. 

The tenancy agreement must be signed and dated by both the landlord and tenant, and a copy provided to the tenant no later than 21 days after the agreement is entered into. If a landlord has not provided a copy within 21 days, the tenant may withhold rent until a copy is provided.

Tenants are asked to pay a security or damage deposit, in the amount of 50% of one month's rent, upon signing a tenancy agreement. If damages 'beyond normal wear and tear' are caused to the rental unit during tenancy, the landlord may keep all or part of the deposit. If the tenant has unpaid rent or bills, or moves out without notice, the landlord may also keep the deposit. However, for the landlord to keep any portion of the deposit, the tenant must first give written consent or an Arbitrator order to keep the deposit. Otherwise the landlord must return the deposit plus interest within 15 days after tenancy ends.

Tenant's are commonly required to pay rent on the first day of each month. If rent is not paid on time, the landlord may issue a 10-day Notice to End a Residential Tenancy requiring them to move out. If a notice is issued, the tenant must make payment of rent owed within five days, or move out. Regular late payments may result in the landlord ending the tenancy for breach of terms. 

In some circumstances, a landlord may need to access your residence. Some occasions a landlord may enter your home include: if there is a fire, damaged or blocked pipes or flooding; if the tenant is at home and agrees; if the tenant has abandoned the premises; if the landlord has given the tenant 24 hours written notice with reasons. Tenants are responsible for maintaining cleanliness in the unit, and regular repairs are the responsibility of the landlord.

Government information is available at the Residential Tenancy Office website or by calling 604-660-2421.

The Tenants Rights Action Coalition provides excellent fact sheets with tips and information on subjects from moving in and finding out who your landlord is to evictions and arbitration. You may also call the TRAC hotline at 1-800-663-1278.

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