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B.C. Residential Tenancy Act Tips — when can a landlord raise your rent?

If you’re relocating to Metro Vancouver from out of B.C., you might notice rules and regulations are a little different here. For example, places like Alberta do not have any rent controls as of yet. But British Columbia does.

In this article, we’ll be tackling an important question — when can a landlord raise your rent in B.C.? We hope arming you with knowledge from the B.C. Residential Tenancy Act will allow you to make informed decisions. So before you move into the Metro Vancouver area, we should review some rental tips!

So, you’ve just moved in — when can a landlord raise your rent?

So let’s say you’ve moved into your new home in Metro Vancouver. A couple of months pass and the landlord says the price of rent is going up. Is this legal?

Landlords must wait 12 months after the date the current rent rate was given. This applies even if there is a new landlord or even a new tenant moves in.

Landlords must give rent increase notices to tenants three full months in advance. So for example, if notice is served on January 1, the rent increase would begin on May 1. The three full months would be February, March and April. In B.C., rent increase notices must be served in written form.

You can find more details here. Be sure to click on the actual rent-increase form on the page and look at the terms and conditions.

By how much can a landlord increase my rent?

So you’ve told the landlord he’s got to wait at least a year since the last rental bump before he can increase your rent. He says he’ll come back a year after your moving-in date. So he does that. But when he comes back, he says the rent has doubled. What do you do then?

Luckily, B.C. has rent controls that prevent this type of thing from happening. That means landlords cannot bump your rent higher than the provincial benchmark (explained below), except in certain situations.

As of now, the government limits rental increases to the cost of inflation, plus 2 per cent. However, this can change depending on the year. Be sure to check this tenancy guide regularly to get updates.

You do not have to pay a rental increase that is higher than the legal amount. If your landlord insists on doing so, you can ask the province to order him or her to comply with the law.

But what do you do if you’ve been paying a rent increase higher than the legally allowed amount? The province says you can deduct the amount you overpaid from future rent payments. You’ll probably want to attach a note explaining this in the bill as well.

Protect yourself! Learn about B.C.’s rental laws, and research your landlord!

Obviously, we can’t go over all the details regarding rent increases in one blog post. For example, there are exceptions that allow landlords to increase rent beyond the provincial benchmark. You’d best learn about them by reading this detailed guide.

But protecting yourself goes beyond learning about the laws. Before you move into your new Lower Mainland home, try researching the property management company or landlords in charge. Ask them for references if possible. Check their BBB profiles. Picking and choosing the right landlord can help prevent rental disputes before they even start.

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