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Residential Tenancies Branch

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Section 13 

Rent Regulation

Sub-Section 13.7

Rent Increase for New Tenant


Legislation


s. 116.1, 118(2), 131 and 132, The Residential Tenancies Act

Definitions

Anniversary date: the date on which a landlord is entitled to increase the rent on a rental unit. In some residential complexes, all units have the same anniversary or rent increase date. In other complexes, the anniversary dates may be spaced throughout the year. A landlord can usually increase rent for a rental unit only once every 12 months. A landlord can change the anniversary date on a rental unit by waiting more than 12 months between rent increases. For example: The anniversary date on a particular unit was September 1, 2003. The landlord wanted to change the anniversary date to January 1 to coincide with the anniversary dates on the other units in the complex. To change the date, the landlord did not increase the rent on September 1, 2003 but waited for the increase until January 1, 2004.

Notice to New Tenant: a form a landlord must give a new tenant at the beginning of a tenancy. The landlord must send the Branch a copy of the form within 14 days of giving it to the tenant. The notice tells the tenant about the services and facilities that are included in the rent. It also shows the previous and present rent for the rental unit and tells the tenant of any proposed rent increase.

Rent: the amount of money paid by a tenant to a landlord for the right to occupy a rental unit and the use of common areas, services and facilities; rent includes any service/facility for which the tenant pays a separate charge (For example: parking, storage locker.)


Policy

A landlord can usually increase rent on a rental unit only once every twelve months. However, there are two exceptions:

  • When  a  new  tenant  moves  into  a  residential  complex  with  three units or less, the landlord can increase the rent as long as they give the tenant a Notice to New Tenant form. The landlord may decide the amount of the rent increase.

  • When a complex has four or more units, the landlord can also increase a new tenant’s rent as long as they give the tenant a Notice to New Tenant form. The new rent can’t be more than the average of the rents charged for similar or comparable units in the residential complex.

In a fourplex, if the landlord lives in one of the units, the Branch considers the complex to be three units or less.

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When a new tenant moves in, a landlord must give the tenant a Notice to New Tenant form, even if they don’t intend to increase the rent. The Branch provides the form. A landlord may use their own form as long as it has all the information required by the Act.

The landlord must give the tenant the Notice to New Tenant form before   they can charge the higher rent. The landlord must give the notice to the tenant when they agree to rent the unit.

If a landlord doesn’t give the tenant a Notice to New Tenant, then the rent increase is not allowed. The Branch may "roll-back" the rent increase and order the landlord to refund the rent overpayment to the tenant.

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A tenancy agreement may say how many people can live in the rental unit. In a complex of three or less units, if the agreement is specific and the tenant wants to have more people live in the unit, a landlord and tenant may end the original tenancy agreement and create a new agreement to cover the additional occupants. To increase the rent, the landlord must give the tenant a Notice to New Tenant form and send a copy to the Branch.

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When a landlord increases the rent to an average of the rents charged for similar or comparable units, the landlord must include all similar units when calculating the amount of the rent. For example: If a landlord is calculating the average for a one-bedroom unit, they must include the information about all one-bedroom units in the complex. (see calculation example in Step 2 of Procedures.) The Branch recognizes that there may be style differences between similar units. The Branch takes the different styles into account when calculating the average. For example: A building may have two different styles of one-bedroom units – one style with a den and one without.

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When a new tenant moves into a complex with four or more units, the landlord can’t increase the charge for parking by averaging the charges for other parking stalls. The Act allows the landlord to average the rent on the rental unit only, not on the other services or facilities.

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In a complex with four or more units, when a landlord increases rent for a new tenant, the tenant has the right to ask the Branch to determine what the average rent is on comparable units. The tenant must apply to the Branch within 30 days of receiving the Notice to New Tenant form.

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In a condominium complex with more than three units, a landlord/owner who:

  • owns three units or less, may increase the rent on the rental unit to amount of their choice;

  • owns four units or more, may increase the rent on the rental unit to the average of similar or comparable units owned by that landlord.

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When a landlord increases rent for a new tenant, it doesn’t necessarily change the anniversary date for the rental unit. The landlord may still increase the rent again on the anniversary date. For example: A landlord increases rent on the anniversary date, February 1, 2004. A new tenant moves in May 1, 2004. The landlord gives the tenant a properly completed Notice to New Tenant form and increases the rent to the average of similar units in the complex. On February 1, 2005, the landlord is entitled to increase the rent by the guideline or by applying for an increase above the guideline.



Procedure

Overview   

A new tenant contacts the Branch with a question about the amount of their rent. The officer checks to make sure that the tenant received a Notice to New Tenant form. The officer then follows set procedures, depending on the number of units in the residential complex.


Steps ▼   

1.   A new tenant contacts the Branch with a question or concern about       their rent. The Branch may also open a file if it receives information that       does not explain why the rent was increased.

2.   If the tenant lives in a residential complex with three units or less, the       officer makes sure the tenant received a properly completed Notice to       New Tenant form. If the tenant received the notice, the officer advises the       tenant that the landlord is entitled to set the rent.

      If the tenant lives in a residential complex with four or more units, and       has contacted the officer within 30 days of getting their copy of the Notice       to New Tenant form, the officer:

  • contacts the landlord to clarify and discuss the rent information;
  • reviews Branch records to see how the average was calculated on previous files; and
  • calculates the average of the rents for similar units in the complex as follows:

          Total monthly undiscounted rent for all           similar units in the complex on the date the           new tenant moves in (not including the           subject unit )           


 =

  Average rent for similar   units in the complex
  

          Number of all similar units in the complex

          For example: A new tenant agrees to move into Unit 1, a two-
          bedroom unit. There are five similar two-bedroom units in the           complex. The landlord calculates the new rent as follows:

               Unit 2                     $460.00
               Unit 3                       470.00
               Unit 4                       465.00
               Unit 5                       462.00
               Unit 6                       468.00

               Total                    $2,325.00
÷5 = $465.00, the new rent for Unit 1.

          If the landlord’s rent increase is more than the officer calculates the           average increase to be, the officer contacts the landlord to confirm the           rent information and tries to get an agreement on the amount of the           rent. If necessary, the officer makes a decision and issues an Order.

3.   If the tenant didn’t get a copy of the Notice to New Tenant form, the officer       will:

  • contact the landlord to confirm that they didn’t give the tenant a Notice to New Tenant form;
  • tell the landlord if the tenant is entitled to a refund on the rent overpayment because they weren’t given proper notice;
  • discuss the amount of the refund with the landlord and agree on a method of repayment; the landlord may return the rent overpayment to the tenant or allow the tenant to deduct the overpayment from future months’ rent;
  • make a decision and issue an Order, if necessary.


 

 

Forms & Form Letters

Notice to New Tenant...................................Form 2/Residential Rent Regulation


 

 

X-Referencing



 

 

Policy Developed

September, 1992 *


Last Revision

March, 2004


 

Other Resources


 

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