Ready to move out of your rental unit?
Sooner or later, you’ll want to move to a new place. There are some important details you need to consider before you can end your lease. (What if the landlord gives you notice to move?)
Letting your landlord know you want to end your lease:
As a tenant, you can give notice to your landlord verbally. However, your landlord may ask you to sign a notice to confirm you plan to move. If you refuse to sign the notice, you haven’t given proper notice and you are still considered a tenant of the unit until you sign the notice.
The amount of notice you need to give your landlord depends on what kind of lease you have. The most common kinds of leases are:
A month-to-month lease requires one rental period notice, or one-month’s notice. You are required to give your notice on the last day of the rental payment period to move out on the last day of the following rental period.
For example: If your rent is due on the first of the month, you need to give notice on or before March 31 to move out on April 30. If your rent is due on the 15th of the month, you have to give notice on or before March 14 to move out on April 14.
A one-year lease is called a fixed term tenancy agreement.
You can’t end a fixed-term tenancy agreement before it it ends, unless you assign or sublet the rental unit. For more information about assigning or subletting your rental unit, click here .
In a fixed-term rental agreement, your landlord has to offer you a tenancy agreement renewal at least three months before the end of the existing agreement. If your landlord doesn’t offer a renewal, you may leave at the end of the existing agreement without notice to the landlord.
If the landlord doesn't give you a new tenancy agreement on time as required by the legislation, and you continue to live in the rental unit after the end of the existing tenancy agreement, the agreement is renewed for another term. When an agreement is automatically renewed because of your landlord's failure to offer a renewal, you may terminate the renewal agreement by giving the landlord notice of one rental payment period.
In some cases, you may be able to give less than one rental payment period notice.
If your health or safety is at risk or your rental unit is in such bad condition that it is impossible for you to continue to live in it, contact the Branch to find out how much notice you need to give.
To be able to increase the rent more than the annual rent increase guideline, your landlord must apply to the RTB for approval. Sometimes you might have to sign your new tenancy agreement before the RTB has made a decision on the landlord’s application. Even though you must sign the agreement, you still have the right to end your tenancy with notice of two rental payment periods. You may give notice at any time from the date you get notice that the landlord has applied, or plans to apply, for a rent increase above the guideline to 14 days after you get the Branch's decision on the landlord’s application.
Arranging for moving day:
Once you’ve given the appropriate notice to your landlord, the RTB encourages you and your landlord to discuss move-out arrangements ahead of time. Arrangements to discuss include:
It’s important to make the required moving arrangements in advance to make sure you’re able to leave your unit on the agreed date because you don’t have the right to stay in your unit beyond the last day of a notice period.
If you gave your notice and don’t move or you move late, you are responsible to compensate the landlord. Depending on the situation, you may be responsible to pay your landlord compensation for rent, or use and occupancy, of the rental unit. If your landlord has new tenants and has to find them alternate accommodation, you may be responsible for those expenses too.
If you need to stay in your rental unit until the first day of the next rental payment period, you need to make special arrangements with the landlord.
Rental Unit Condition Report:
The Residential Tenancies Branch encourages you and your landlord to inspect the property together and fill out a Rental Unit Condition Report before you move out. When you’re doing the condition report, make sure you give the landlord your forwarding address.
You probably gave your landlord a security deposit when you signed your rental agreement.
At the end of your lease or agreement, you and your landlord may agree, in writing, on a claim against the security deposit for things like unpaid rent, damage or cleaning costs. You and your landlord may decide to write your own agreement or you can use the "end of tenancy" box on the standard rental unit condition report. Once you, as the tenant, sign the end of a tenancy, it’s usually binding and, in most cases, you can’t later ask the Branch to decide if the agreement is fair, unless you can show you were forced to sign the agreement.
You can ask the Branch to decide if you are entitled to all or part of your security deposit after a tenancy ends. There is no fee for filing this request.
If your landlord is making a claim against your deposit:
The Residential Tenancies Act says that a landlord must notify a tenant of any claim against a security deposit within 28 days of the end of the tenancy. If you don’t receive notice of a claim within 28 days, you can ask the RTB to decide who is entitled to the security deposit. The RTB will then ask the landlord to send their claim to the RTB by a certain date. The date the Branch sets depends on when the tenancy ended.
For example: If you contact the RTB more than 28 days after the end of your tenancy, the Branch gives the landlord 19 days to submit a claim. If the landlord misses the deadline, the landlord must return the deposit to the tenant. The landlord may still file a claim for compensation against the tenant.