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Consumer Guide to Tenancies
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Go to Information for property owners:
This FAQ covers information on what decisions a rental property manager can be tasked to make on your behalf, how to work with tenants when you want to sell your property during the course of a lease, and what rights a tenant has when it comes to living in a property listed for sale.
Tenancy usually means one of two things: being a tenant or being a landlord. Many more people are involved in tenancies including rental property managers, strata managers, and buyers of properties that are tenanted. Understanding how a tenancy agreement may affect you is key to being able to make sound decisions whether you are a property owner or a potential tenant.
Information for property owners:
Why should I use a rental property manager to rent my home?
A licensed rental property manager must always act in their client’s best interest. This includes providing sound advice on issues concerning rental rates and screening of tenants. They will also ensure you know your obligations under the Residential Tenancy Act and will let you know when you may be at risk of violating it. When it comes time to sell your property, or if the need should arise to evict a tenant, a licensed rental property manager can advise you of your obligations, suggest you get independent legal advice when necessary, and provide referrals.
What should be in my service agreement with a rental property manager?
The service agreement (or contract) will outline all the obligations of the parties as mandated by the Real Estate Services Act. This agreement will include such terms as:
- the names of all parties;
- the address of the property;
- the duration of the agreement;
- any commissions or remuneration being paid;
- how the agreement can be terminated;
- the scope of the authority being granted to the rental property manager;
- information about accounting statements and records; and
- how security and pet deposits are dealt with.
To modify an agreement, both sides will need to agree so make sure you understand and agree to all the terms before signing the contract.
Can my rental property manager make all decisions on my behalf?
A rental property manager can only act within the scope of authority granted to them under the service agreement you signed. Some landlords want to have no contact with their tenants, some want to approve every repair expenditure being requested, and some want to grant blanket authority to the property manager to handle all contracts and expenses below a certain monetary threshold. It is important that you and your rental property manager outline where their decision-making authority begins and ends in the service agreement.
What if I want to sell my tenanted property?
If you are listing your property, and it is tenanted, you must comply with your obligations under the Residential Tenancy Act.
Selling your property during a fixed-term tenancy has different requirements than a month-to-month tenancy. You must ensure that the purchase contract you enter into with a buyer reflects the tenancy and it should be clear whether or not you are able to give a buyer vacant possession. This may affect a buyer’s interest in purchasing the property or the perceived value of the property. Speak with your real estate professional to understand the implications of selling a tenanted home.
How can I ensure my tenant cooperates with showings?
Once you have listed your home you must remember to follow the Residential Tenancy Act requirements for showings. The Act requires that you provide at least 24 hours notice of a showing in writing and limits the access to the unit to between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Speak with your tenant once you plan on listing your property. Often, if tenants are included in the process, they are more willing to be flexible with showing times and notifications, and they will be more likely to keep the property clean. Offering one or two days a week where you will never request showings also demonstrates goodwill and can reduce the stress that comes with strangers entering their personal space all week long.
Information for tenants:
Who does the rental property manager represent?
When you are renting a property, it is important to know that a rental property manager is not representing you in the negotiation of the lease. They represent the landlord and are tasked with acting in the landlord’s best interest. They must also follow all the lawful instructions of the landlord.
The rental property manager will have entered into a contract with landlord which will dictate who manages repairs in your unit, who you should contact for emergencies, and how to arrange move in and move out inspections. It will also outline who will is responsible for the collection of rent. You may be required to issue payment either party.
Review the Residential Tenancy Act and make sure you get independent advice before signing any lease agreements.
My landlord has listed my home for sale, do I need to move out?
The answer depends on the type of tenancy you have entered into. If you are in a fixed-term lease that has not ended, your landlord cannot evict you from the premises until the termination date on the lease. That means any buyer who purchases the home will assume the responsibilities of the landlord under the terms of the original lease you signed.
If you are on a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord may terminate the tenancy after meeting certain conditions outlined in the Residential Tenancy Act and any local government bylaws. This includes giving proper notice, payment of one month’s rent in certain circumstances etc. You should review your rights under the Act and seek legal advice if you are unsure.
Can a listing real estate professional show my home anytime they want?
The Residential Tenancy Act outlines that your landlord, or real estate professional on their behalf, must provide 24 hours notice to show your home and that a showing can only take place between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Despite these requirements, you can negotiate with your landlord a showing schedule that is more convenient for both of you.
This content was developed with financial support from the Real Estate Foundation of BC.