Landlord and Tenant Disputes Lawyer (British Columbia)

Landlords who are renting to tenants in the Abbotsford, BC area must use tenancy agreements that are required to adhere to the Residential Tenancy Act and the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act. A written agreement is required for each tenancy, and a signature and date are required as well. Landlords are to issue a copy of the agreement to their tenants no longer than 21 days from the date of the agreement. Once a security deposit is paid, however, tenancy has been established. This remains true, regardless of whether there is a written tenancy agreement or not.

Standard Items to Include on the Tenancy Agreement

To ensure fairness and equity, all agreements should include standard items for the protection of both the landlord and the tenant. Some terms on the tenancy agreement are negotiated between the landlord and the tenant. Those terms typically include:

The parties involved in the lease: The complete legal names of the tenant(s) and the landlord(s) should be included.

The duration of the tenancy: A lease may be fixed term or periodic.

  • Fixed-term – This type of tenancy is designated for a set period of time (a week, a month, a year, etc.). The agreement cannot end before the specified date, unless both parties agree in writing or if an arbitrator orders the termination of the agreement. There may be a “move out” clause in the lease. This clause requires the tenant to move out on the date that the agreement ends. This clause cannot be enforced unless both parties initial this term on the agreement. If there is no mention of what happens at the end of the fixed-term, the tenancy evolves into a periodic tenancy, with no exact end date. The tenant will not have to sign a new fixed term agreement or move out.
  • Periodic – Month to month leases are an example of a periodic tenancy. This type of tenancy does not specify an exact end date. It continues until one of the parties serves notice or until both parties agree to end the agreement.

Rent: Explicitly state the amount due, as well as the time it is due. The agreement should also clearly inform the tenant of any items that are included with rent, like cable or utilities. It should also specify if there are refundable or non-refundable fees.

Deposits: Specify the deposit amount and time required. A landlord cannot request more than one security deposit fee or one pet deposit fee per unit. Each of those deposits should not exceed more than half a month’s rent. Also note that landlords of manufactured home parks are not permitted to request deposits from tenants.

Pets: State if pets are permitted, and indicate restrictions if so.

How a Lawyer Can Assist With Residential Tenancy Applications

You may already have issues pending with a residential tenancy application. If so, it’s important to see a lawyer who has experience in this field and is familiar with this type case law. Having an attorney on your side means having expertise in an area that you’re probably unfamiliar with. There are many services an experienced landlord / tenant attorney can cover for you.

  • Work with both parties to try to resolve the problem out of court
  • Research prior arbitration decisions in like cases
  • Assist you in applying online or in person for dispute resolution at Service BC locations in your area
  • Help you complete appropriate forms for the courts if you are applying to impose a Residential Tenancy Branch order

When you find yourself in a legal situation, you need a legal professional. Contact an attorney to get the expert assistance you need with your residential tenancy applications.