Whether you’re looking to move to Vancouver or already live there, it’s hard to find an affordable place. But it doesn’t have to be!
There are a few tried-and-true strategies that can help you get the best rental deal. These include:
1. Know your rights as a tenant
Whether you’re a new or existing tenant, it’s important to know your rights and obligations as a tenant. There are a number of things that can go wrong, especially if you’re not aware of your rights and obligations.
One of the first things you should do is read your lease to make sure it includes all the information you need. It will tell you what you can and cannot do while living in the home, as well as how much rent you can expect to pay. It may also include information about a landlord’s obligations and rules, such as how to handle repairs or what to do when you need to move out early.
Another important thing to look for in your lease is a condition inspection report. This will outline the state of the property before and after you moved in, and can be used as evidence if there’s a dispute about the state of your rental unit at a later date.
You should also be familiar with the local laws regarding your security deposit, as they can dictate what your landlord is able to do with the money. They might have to keep it in an interest-bearing account, for example, or they might be able to withhold it if you don’t pay your rent on time.
Landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants based on race, sex, religion, ethnicity, family status or disability, under the Fair Housing Act. If you feel like your landlord has acted in violation of this law, you should file a complaint.
A landlord’s responsibilities to you as a tenant are set out in both the Residential Tenancy Act and local bylaws. The RTA sets out the general health and safety standards that landlords must follow, while local bylaws will be more detailed on things like heating systems, hot water, infestations, exterior walls, roofing, elevators and fire escapes.
Lastly, your landlord must provide you with a contact number for emergencies. This should be in writing or posted in a common area of the property. If there’s a repair issue that meets the RTA’s definition of “emergency”, you should call this number at least twice, leaving a reasonable amount of time between each attempt.
2. Know your rights as a landlord
Landlords have many obligations to their tenants, including providing fair housing. This means that landlords cannot discriminate against tenants based on race, religion, sex, family status, or disability.
They must also provide careful screening of any employees they hire or allow to work on their properties, and ensure that their homes meet health and safety standards. If they don’t, they could face legal action.
If you rent a house or apartment, your landlord must repair any damage in a reasonable amount of time after you ask them to. This includes repairing water leaks and cracks in the walls or ceiling.
You can also ask them to make repairs to your yard or any common areas. This will help to keep your home in good condition and protect you from liability if someone gets injured while using the property or in the yard.
Some cities have bylaws that regulate what types of repairs a landlord must do. These may require them to fix things like heating systems, hot water, exterior walls, roofs, elevators, fire escapes and more.
Other times, they can just make the repairs themselves if they’re in their budget. If your landlord isn’t making these repairs, you can ask the City to send a bylaw officer out to check on your property or issue warnings and fines. You can also use this bylaw as evidence at a Residential Tenancy Branch dispute resolution hearing.
Another thing to be aware of is that your landlord can’t enter your home without your permission unless it’s for an emergency, or when you give them 24 hours notice. This can include showing you a potential new tenant or letting in workers who are fixing up the property.
Your landlord must also conduct a reasonable inspection of the home for unsafe conditions before you move in, and repair any dangerous issues that are found. If they fail to do this, you can sue them for negligence.
Your landlord must also make sure that you have an emergency contact number to call in case of an emergency. They can do this by posting a number in a prominent location on your rental property, or giving you one in writing. You should always make it a point to use this emergency number, especially if there’s something that needs immediate attention, such as plumbing or electrical problems.
3. Know your obligations as a landlord
Landlords have a lot of responsibilities, and it’s important for you to know what they are and how they work. This will help you make informed decisions about your landlord and your lease.
Whether you are a first-time landlord or a long-time landlord, there are many things that you can do to ensure you meet your obligations as a landlord. Here are some of the most common landlord obligations you can expect from your landlord:
Your landlord is required to keep your apartment in a habitable condition. This includes keeping the inside of your rental unit clean, free of clutter, and in good repair. It also means maintaining essential services like water, heat, and electricity.
If you notice that your apartment doesn’t meet these standards, be sure to bring this up to your landlord immediately. If you fail to do so, your landlord may be liable for any repairs or replacements needed as a result of this violation.
Another important obligation that your landlord has is to provide you with accurate and up-to-date contact information. This includes providing you with their full name and phone number, so that you can easily get in touch with them when necessary.
This will help you stay on top of your landlord’s business and avoid any unnecessary hassles. In addition, it will give you peace of mind knowing that you are able to reach them in an emergency.
You are obligated to notify your landlord in writing when there is something that needs to be fixed in your rental unit, such as a leak, infestation, or damaged furniture. You can find a letter template at TRAC’s website that will guide you through the process.
Your landlord is obligated to give you 24 hours notice before they plan to enter your home to fix or replace any materials in the unit. This is an important protection for your privacy, so if you think that your landlord is not following this rule, it’s crucial to call them out on it as soon as possible!
In the case of a fire or other emergency, your landlord is also obligated to get you out as quickly as possible. If they can’t do this, you have the right to get out of your lease and move to a different apartment as quickly as possible.
4. Know your obligations as a tenant
If you’re a tenant, it’s important to know your rights and the responsibilities you have to your landlord. This will help you make informed decisions and avoid legal problems down the road.
A lease is the contract that binds you and your landlord together, and it should be updated regularly to reflect current laws. It’s also a good idea to have a copy of it in case you need to reference it during any disputes or negotiations.
Your tenancy agreement should include information about how long you’re renting for, how much rent you pay and when the lease ends. It should also outline any special rules you’re required to follow, such as how to handle a dispute or what happens when you move out of the property.
As a landlord, you’re obligated to provide rental units that are in good repair and have all the services and facilities outlined in your lease. This includes things like cleaning, repairs, and maintenance.
In addition, your landlord is responsible for upholding reasonable health and safety standards. This means keeping the unit clean, repairing any damage caused by you or your pets, and following any building codes and regulations.
If you find a problem with your rental, tell your landlord immediately. Then, keep records that show the issue has been fixed and any inspection notices that your landlord sends.
You can also file a complaint with your local housing authority about your landlord’s behaviour. For instance, if your landlord is constantly stopping by and not giving you adequate notice, it could be a violation of the law.
Another important aspect of your tenancy is your right to privacy in your home. In most cities, your landlord is obligated to give you 24 hours’ notice before entering your property. This should be in writing in your lease, but you can also call the city or state to see if they have any laws about this.
You also have the right to request that your landlord provide you with a condition inspection report of the rental before you sign the lease. This will help you document any issues with the property and give you evidence if you need to bring it up in court.
Among many other things, David A. Grantham is a contributing author to UmassExtension West Vancouver Blo. He is a renowned expert on real estate in BC.
Born in North Vancouver, Louisiana, Dr. Grantham grew up in Lower Lonsdale. He then went on to complete his business degree at the University British Columbia. As of this writing, Grantham has completed over 100 projects, including the development of a high rise building in Vancouver.
He is a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was a dedicated outdoorsman and enjoyed sports such as hunting, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing. His wife, Alison Grantham, and their two daughters survived him. He is survived by his wife Alison Martin Grantham and two daughters.