Over 1/3 of all households in British Columbia are rented so chances are that if you’re a renter, you probably have received a rent increase notice at least once in your lifetime. Here are the rules your should know.
A landlord can only increase your rent once in a 12 month period by an amount permitted by law. And just to be clear, your rent cannot be increased until you have lived in the same rental and under the same rental agreement for at least 12 months, even if there is a new landlord or owner. The allowable rent increase for each calendar year is available on the Residential Tenancy Branch’s website.
Here is an example of how a rent increase is calculated:
|Your current rent:||$1,000.00|
|2020 allowable increase (2.6% x 1000)||$26.00|
|Your new rent will be:||$1,026.00|
If the landlord charges an amount higher than the allowable amount, you do not have to pay the excess rent.
The rules also state that the notice must be served three full months before the rent increase can take effect. For example, Jane moved into an apartment on February 1, 2019 and pays rent of $1,000.00 per month. Her landlord serves her a Notice of Rent Increase by registered mail on October 20, 2019 to pay rent of $1,026.00 beginning February 1, 2020. This rent increase was done in accordance with the Act.
If you are reading this and realize that you have paid an increase that was higher than the permitted amount, call the Residential Tenancy Branch at 1-800-665-8779 to find out what your options are.
Please note that subsidized housing, where rent is directly related to the tenant’s income, is not subject to rent increase laws. In these cases, the Residential Tenancy Branch does not have the authority to make decisions on rent increases. Tenants who have questions about rent increases for subsidized housing should discuss it with their housing provider.