Secondary suitesare separate, self-contained suites in a residential home, and are covered by the same residential tenancy laws as apartments in large buildings. Landlords who rent out suites in their homes do not have any more say in the lives of their tenants just because they live in the same building and sometimes share the same facilities, such as laundry or a yard. 

Hotels: Hotel tenants are protected by the Residential Tenancy Act if the hotel is the tenant's primary residence.

Living with the landlordThe Residential Tenancies Act does not apply when a tenant rents a room in the landlord’s home and shares the kitchen and living room with the landlord. If the tenant does not pay rent one month, the landlord is under no obligation to give the tenant a 14-day notice to end the tenancy. The landlord could ask the tenant to leave immediately for failing to pay rent. Tenants who live with their landlords do not have the same protections as tenants who are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act.

If the landlord and tenant share living space, it is a very good idea to have a written contract setting out the rules that both the landlord and tenant must follow to provide some basic protections.

For more resources when living with a landlord  

click here for the Tenant Resources and Advisory Centre website

CLICK ON LOGO OR TITLE FOR LINK TO EACH SITE OR RESOURCE

TRAC’s purpose is to promote the legal protection of residential tenants across British Columbia by providing information, education, support and research on residential tenancy matters.

TRAC has transformed its popular Tenant Survival Guide into an Online Wikibook. 

A summary of key elements from the Residential Tenancy Act and describes how each element affects landlords and tenants (February 2015 version). Where the Act and this guide differ, the Act prevails.

Residential Tenancy Branch, Gov. of BC

By completing the free online course and passing the final exam, students earn a certificate that can be presented to landlords with a rental application. This is a great option if you do not have rental references!

Examples of activities include:

  • Creating a monthly budget

  • Preparing a list of references

  • Ordering your credit report

  • Writing a cover letter

  • Thinking about potential roommates

TRAC strongly encourages tenants to put all communication regarding their tenancy in writing. Even if you currently have a good relationship with your landlord and resolve issues informally, you may one day need evidence of your requests, or other communication.

Both tenants and landlords have specific rights and responsibilities in a tenancy. Make sure you’re renting the right way – access information and resources that will help you have a successful tenancy.  

RentSmart Basics courses are facilitated by RentSmart Educators and are adapted to meet the unique needs of specific populations such as youth, newcomers, people with disabilities and seniors. RentSmart Basics is often the precursor to RentSmart Certificate course.

RentSmart is a 12-hour course covering the following;

  • Tenant rights and responsibilities

  • Landlord responsibilities and expectations

  • Living with roommates, housemates and neighbours

  • Effective communication skills

  • Budgeting and planning for housing affordability and stability

  • Maintenance do’s and don’ts

  • Crisis management, safety and pests

Upon completion of the RentSmart course, participants earn the RentSmart Certificate of Completion. The certificate can act as a reference and lets landlords know that graduates have learned how to be a good tenant.

The benefits of the RentSmart course are empowered tenants who understand their rights and responsibilities, communicate effectively with landlords, neighbours and roommates, budget to maintain their housing and look after their home. Financial benefits include the reduction in the costs related to moving, damages and evictions, as well as the societal benefits of stable housing and all its related impacts.

If you are interested in attending a local course please contact Aqanttanam Housing (250) 417-3774

If you live in B.C., have a low income and meet eligibility criteria, you may qualify for subsidized housing.

Subsidized housing is long-term housing for people who permanently reside in British Columbia. Rental fees are calculated on a rent geared to income basis (30% of household total gross income, subject to minimum rent based on # of people).

You must complete an application for the Housing Registry. If you are not housed a new application must be done every 6 months to stay current on the BC Housing registry.

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Information about transition houses, safe homes and second stage housing.

Priority Placement Program, gives women fleeing violence or at risk of violence priority access to BC Housing’s directly-managed housing units.

Rental Supplement. Cash assistance for eligible low-income working families to help with monthly rent payments in the private market.         For local assistance with an application contact the Homeless Prevention Program coordinators at 778.517.5355.

Check out the brochure for more information about the program

Lower income seniors renting in the private market may be eligible for a rent supplement through SAFER.

You may be eligible if you:

  • are 60 years or older

  • pay more than 30% of your monthly income before tax in rent

  • live in market housing (not subsidized, non-profit, or cooperative housing)

  • do NOT receive Income Assistance or Persons with Disability Assistance (PWD) from the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (MSDSI). You may still qualify if you receive Medical Services Only (MSO).

  • live in BC and have lived here for at least 12 months immediately before applying

  • you and your spouse both meet citizenship requirements

  • your gross monthly income is below the following limits:

For local assistance with an application contact the Homeless Prevention Program coordinators at 778.517.5355.

Funds to help low income working families, seniors and those in need of a housing adaptation to live safely and independently.

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