If you are ever caught in landlord and tenant disputes, this outlines your rights and gives you ideas about what you can do.
Being a landlord brings you both opportunities and troubles. While you have the chance to capitalize on your asset and earn a recurring income each month from your tenants, you cannot possibly rule out the possibility of a dispute.
Therefore, you need to be aware of the existing tenancy laws in Canada so that you are not caught unaware of one of these disputes. Since many of these disputes stem from damages caused to your property, making it mandatory for them to have tenant insurance makes sense — you can find BC tenant insurance here and potentially save up to 25%.
Rather than taking the landlord-tenant disputes immediately to the court, you have several options to resolve disputes with tenants. In general, experts recommend mentioning the steps to be taken for resolving disputes in the rental agreement.
What might lead to landlord and tenant disputes & what to do about it?
Tenancy disputes may stem from several aspects. Here are some of the issues that you must be aware of.
- Tenant rights
- Lease agreements governing the rental property use
- Non-payment of rent on a timely basis
- Liabilities regarding property repair
- Eviction of tenants from the property
As a property owner, it would not be logical to waste your time and resources trying to settle these disputes at the court. In general, both parties need to adhere to certain norms. This will prevent the situation from occurring in the first place.
Evaluate the terms and conditions of the lease or rental agreement at the outset. You should take time to understand each party’s legal responsibilities and rights as per the local or provincial norms.
In case you find an issue on the other side, notify the party without delay. When you deal with your tenants, make sure you are straightforward and open. If any issue crops up with the tenancy, create printouts and hard copies for notes on all the correspondences.
What are the rights of the landlord?
In general, landlords enjoy the following rights when it comes to renting or leasing out homes.
- The landlord reserves the right to select a tenant using relevant details. This includes credit references, credit checks, income information, guarantees, rental history, and similar business practices. However, a landlord is not entitled to refuse or choose tenants based on ethnic origin, place of birth, race, sex, age, religion, marital status, disability, or family status.
- A landlord might request and collect rent deposits when they sign the agreement. However, the maximum deposit amount can equal one rental period, like a week or a month. Besides, homeowners can collect the rent on the due date or in advance.
- Once you rent out the property, you reserve the right to enter the home to execute repair or maintenance tasks. However, specific entry guidelines should be followed by both parties.
- Property owners can increase the rent only once in twelve months. There are some guidelines governing the increment of rent, which need to be followed.
- A landlord has the right to evict a tenant. You need to serve them a notice at the outset. In case they do not heed the notice, you can file an application and proceed to the Landlord and Tenant Board to address the dispute.
What are the rights of the tenant?
The tenant in landlord tenant disputes has got the right to live in a house that is fit to reside in. If there are holes in the floor, unsafe conditions like poor wiring, cracked plasters, or any other issue, the landlord would be responsible for fixing the same. Following are some of the tenant’s rights:
- Tenants need to be completely aware of all the terms, conditions and contents of the agreement contract. The document becomes valid only when it is read by both parties.
- Regardless of the time of the year, both parties must carry a copy of the agreement. The tenant has the right to possess the landlord’s contact details, such as email addresses, telephone numbers, and postal addresses. They should be able to contact the landlord at any given time.
- The tenant reserves the right to privacy under any condition while residing in the property.
Rights regarding rent and eviction
- If the property owner harasses the tenant and uses unlawful grounds to leave the premises or refuses to accept rent, the tenant might issue a written notice at the outset. Tenants can also ask for the bank details of the landlord to deposit the rent directly. Even then, if the landlord does not respond, the tenant can send it through a money order. However, if all these attempts do not yield any valuable outcome, the tenant can reach out to the Rent Control Court and address the issue.
- The landlord can get the tenant evicted by filing a petition at the Rent Control Court. There are specific grounds based on which a tenant can be evicted. These include causing a nuisance, subletting the property without permission, or defaulting in paying the rent willfully.
- If the tenant carries out any maintenance or repair work that is the owner’s responsibility, they can seek reimbursement.
- The tenant can have visitors who can stay for brief periods or overnight. However, the landlord might object to this, which calls for special terms to be drafted in the tenancy agreement.
- At the end of the agreement term, the tenant should get back the security deposit.
Guidelines to resolve tenant landlord disputes
- Know the law: Both parties should be aware of the law; otherwise, they might end up breaking the rent agreement unintentionally.
- Don’t lose your temper: Maintain your cool even if a possible dispute shows up. In case you find non-cooperating tenants, seek the support of the law at the court. You need to represent yourself in the right profile.
- Hire a mediator: Hiring a professional mediator may help in resolving tenancy disputes. Professional mediators carry the necessary training to handle situations, and they might assist you when needed.
While you rent out your property, your tenants would not be covered under your property insurance.
So, advise them to get adequate coverage through a tenant’s insurance. This policy would keep them secure from any possible damage to their personal belongings. It is one of the best strategies to do away with the chances of a dispute.