Moving to BC? Here’s how to avoid being duped when finding a place to rent

If you plan on moving to beautiful BC, you should be aware of some things when finding a place to rent.

Unless you’re planning on buying a home in the most expensive place to purchase one in Canada, renting is your likely option for finding shelter in the West Coast province.

However, there are some rules to be aware of to ensure you won’t be taken advantage of and that know your rights as a renter.

Rental scams

moving bc rent


Something to watch out for even before you sign an agreement is scams.

Marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are rife with rental scams that exploit people who are unaware of the rental rules in BC.

Trust your gut if someone encourages a virtual viewing or asks for personal information you’re uncomfortable sharing.

The RCMP has additional guidance on rental scams.

Tenancy agreements


Rentals in BC come with tenancy agreements or leases that a landlord prepares for every rental. Both the tenant and landlord need to sign the agreement. Standard terms still apply if you agree to rent a home where the landlord doesn’t prepare a tenancy agreement, and tenancies are established once you pay a security deposit.

Slightly different from some provinces, no matter what length of term you sign, your tenancy will carry forward month-by-month once that term is up.

Landlords and tenants must agree to break a lease, and if you break a lease early, you may be required to pay out the remainder. In other cases, your landlord may agree to let you off the hook without penalty.

BC’s tenancy branch says, “For example, if a tenant has a one-year lease and moves out after two months, their landlord can apply for 10 months’ rent as compensation.”

If you’re on a month-to-month lease, you must give one month’s notice in writing before your rent’s due date.

BC’s tenancy branch advises tenants to read agreements carefully.


moving bc rent

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10-day notice

A landlord can evict you legally with a 10-day notice if rent or utilities go unpaid.

“If your tenant is late paying by even one day, or the rent is short by any amount of money, the landlord has the right to serve them with a 10-day eviction notice for non-payment of rent,” says the BC government.

Even if you are served with a 10-day notice, you can dispute it within five days.

One-month notice for non-compliance

A landlord can evict you with one month’s notice if you break the terms of the Residential Tenancy Act or do not follow the tenancy agreement.

Things like disturbances and safety concerns, failure to repair the damage, government orders, or illegal activities are reasons you could be served with a one-month notice for non-compliance.

Two-month notice for landlord occupation

A landlord can evict you with a two-month notice if they plan to use the suite themselves. This includes renting a suite out to a family member. This notice also applies if the rental unit was sold and the purchaser wants to occupy the unit.

A two-month notice will also apply when tenants don’t qualify for their subsidized rental unit.

Tenants have 15 days to dispute this notice.

Four-month notice

You could be served with a four-month eviction notice for demolition or conversion of the rental unit and have 30 days to file a dispute.

There’s also a four-month eviction process for major renovations.

Rent increases


As if rent wasn’t expensive enough, your rental is subject to a yearly rent increase.

As of 2024, the rent increase limit is 3.5%. Rent can be increased once every 12 months, and your landlord must give you at least three months’ notice, including the dollar amount of the increase and when the increase will go into effect.

Random tips

Most major BC cities are super competitive in the rental market. Any bit of extra preparation will give you the upper hand. Showing up to a potential home with references, rental history, and proof of employment may be enough to give you the edge.

Some residents have gone so far as to create a tenant resume, which may help you stand out amidst a sea of renters. In the end, it might just boil down to getting lucky.

If you’ve secured a place, you’ll want to take your time with inspections. Once you move into an apartment or suite, make sure you do a thorough job of inspection with the landlord or building manager. Keep a record of any and all damage so that you’re not duped out of your security deposit once the tenancy is up.

If you have additional lessons for new BC renters, let us know in the comments.

Also, if you feel like you’re well-versed in all things to do with BC rentals, take the renter pop quiz.