What You Can Do and Cannot Do When A Tenant Does Not Pay Rent

Being a landlord, you have the best interests of your property and will take all the necessary action to ensure that it is running properly and giving you a positive return on investment. When it comes to tenant problems concerning payment of rent, understanding what you can do and what you cannot do is critical to your success. 

A tenant does not pay rent
Tenants must pay rent on the due date which is usually the first day of the month. If they miss that date, you have the right to give a 10 Day Eviction Notice for Non-Payment of Rent. If they don’t and remain on the property, then you can apply for an eviction from the Residential Tenancy Branch or RTB. The tenant must move out on the effective day of notice.

If the tenant pays the overdue rent within 5 calendar days of receiving the notice, then the notice to end is automatically cancelled. 

If the tenant disputes the notice within 5 calendar days of receiving the notice, then the notice will remain on hold until the dispute resolution proceedings are finished. A landlord can contact the RTB to verify whether or not the tenant has applied for dispute resolution.

The tenant does not move out
If the tenant does not move out on time, then the landlord can make a request for an Order of Possession from the RTB. This is usually done through a hearing whereby an arbitrator will hear arguments from both parties and make a decision for or against the tenant.

When the decision is against the tenant and If the tenant does not move out, the landlord can apply for a Writ of Possession from the Supreme Court of BC.  The Writ of Possession allows the landlord to remove the tenant and his belongings using a bailiff firm that has a contract with the Ministry of Justice.

What you cannot do as a landlord if the tenant does not pay the rent:

Physically evict a tenant
Using physical force to remove a tenant can be viewed as an assault and the actions may lead to criminal charges if the outcome is severe.

Change the locks without an order from the Residential Tenancy Branch
Changing the locks and keeping the tenant out of the property is known as an illegal lockout. The RTB considers illegal lockouts a top priority when scheduling hearings.

Forcibly take possession of the tenant’s personal property without a court order
This action can leave the tenant without access to money, work tools, medication, and personal identification. The tenant can apply for dispute resolution with the RTB.

Use a bailiff firm that does not have a contract with the Ministry of Justice
The Ministry of Attorney General publishes a list of court-approved bailiffs who can legally enforce a Writ of Possession. Using an unapproved firm is illegal.

Property management is something we do well. We have a team of qualified and experienced property management staff and we manage a number of rental properties. Contact us if you have any questions about property rentals and management. 
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