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A Guide to the Rental Contract in Vancouver: What You Need to Know

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

As an international student in Vancouver, you may be wondering what a rental contract looks like. And more importantly, what does it include?

In this article, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about rental contracts in Vancouver – from what it is and components of this document to rental increase notices and things to avoid. Welcome to the wonderful world of renting!

What Is a Rental Agreement?

A rental agreement is a binding legal agreement between you and your landlord, and it outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties. When you're signing a contract to rent an apartment in Vancouver, what exactly are you agreeing to?

The typical rental contract in Vancouver will likely specify the address of the property, the monthly rent amount, services included in that payment, the length of the lease (usually six or 12 months), and any special conditions that are relevant to your situation (like parking or pets).

It's also important to read the section on tenant responsibilities. This section will outline things like maintenance duties, noise restrictions, and whether you're allowed to sublet the property (rent it to someone else). Be sure to ask your landlord any questions you have before signing anything! Check out the rental tenancy agreement template provided by the government as a reference.

What should I avoid when signing a rental contract?

Here are 3 things to avoid when signing a rental contract:

  1. Don't sign anything you don't understand. If there's something in the contract that you don't understand, ask your landlord or consult with a lawyer before you sign.

  2. Don't sign a blank contract. Make sure all spaces in the contract are filled in before you sign it.

  3. Don't sign a contract with errors in it. If there are errors in the contract, cross them out and place your initials next to the correction before you sign.

Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants

Landlords in Vancouver have the power to make your life a living hell, or to make you feel like you've finally found a home. It all depends on the contract you sign with them.

It’s important to know what your rights and responsibilities are when signing a rental agreement. The Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) is a provincial law that governs the relationship between landlords and tenants and outlines the rights and responsibilities of each. As a tenant for example, you have the right to quiet enjoyment of the property, which means that your landlord can't harass you or disturb your peace. You also have the right to safety, which means that your landlord can't put you in any danger.

However, you should be aware that you are also responsible for things like paying your rent on time, repairing damages made by your guests or pets, and keeping the property clean and in good condition – so no leaving piles of dishes in the sink or holes in the walls.

Finally, always read the fine print! There may be some hidden clauses in your contract that could end up costing you down the road.

What is a rental increase?

Rent increase is something that happens once every 12 months in long-term rental contracts in Vancouver.

Rental increases are regulated by the Residential Tenancies Branch (RTB), a public body set up to support the rental housing sector in BC. Under the RTB guidelines, landlords are allowed to increase rent on a tenant once a year and limit the percentage they are allowed to increase rent by.

Once your landlord decides to increase rent, they need to give you a minimum of 3 month’s notice. This will be a letter where it mentions what is your current rent, what the percentage of increase will be, and the amount of your new rent starting in January of the coming year.

Just so you are aware, the maximum rent increase allowed in 2023 is 2%.

We hope this guide has been helpful! Keep in mind that, as with any legal document, it's important to read the rental contract thoroughly before signing. If there are any parts that you don't understand, be sure to ask your landlord for clarification.

And most importantly, enjoy your new home in Vancouver! Tag us on Instagram @thrivve.van and show us your new crib!

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