Most experienced and successful landlords agree on the importance of tenant screening. Tenant screening reports will help landlords rule out applicants who may have trouble meeting rent payments, have a record of exhibiting disruptive behaviour, or may otherwise not meet your criteria.
The SingleKey tenant screening platform caters to every landlord’s needs with easy-to-use property management services, including:
- Tenant Reports
- Rent Collection
- Rent Guarantee Program
In this guide, we’ll show you how to manage your investment property successfully with the necessary British Columbia rental agreements and forms required throughout each stage of a new tenancy. We’ll also review the rental climate and laws in British Columbia that will impact your rental property.
British Columbia’s rental market
If you like coastal mountain views, stunning architecture, and a buzzing seaport, you’ll enjoy managing an investment property based in Vancouver, one of British Columbia’s most competitive rental markets. Vancouver appeals to most prospective renters due to its leisurely pace while still providing the benefits of city amenities. The nearby cities are quieter but boast equally desirable qualities. It’s no surprise that British Columbia is Canada’s second most popular province.
There are no signs of population growth slowing in Vancouver, and rental prices are at their highest level in years. According to a 2023 report by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the year-over-year growth in average rent paid in Vancouver is 5.7%. With annual rent increases applied by landlords to current tenants, rent will continue to rise. Each Canadian province has its own regulations regarding yearly rent increases that a landlord can apply to current residents every 12 months.
Required forms for the rental application process
One of the first documents a landlord sends to prospective tenants is a residential rental application. Some of the information required of the prospective tenant includes:
- Basic information, like full name and date of birth
- Current address
- Driver’s licence number
- Social Insurance Number SIN (optional)
- Credit check
- Past pay stubs
- Notice of Assessment to verify sources of monthly income
- Letter from employer
Required forms to start a tenancy
Once the landlord approves a potential tenant’s residential rental application, a lease agreement that protects the tenant and the landlord is drafted and signed. A tenant screening service can help provide the tools, resources, and legal documents you need to make the next move by incentivizing tenants to pay rent on time and protecting your rental income with a rent guarantee program.
Use the Schedule of Parties form when there is insufficient room for additional applicants or respondents.
Addendums are useful for including additional terms specific to the rental property and not specified on the Residential Tenancy Agreement.
Landlords and tenants should complete a Condition Inspection Report together at the start and end of a tenancy or when a landlord first approves a tenant to keep a pet. Before the tenant moves into the property, the landlord and tenant must inspect the rental unit or property together. The rental must be empty before the inspection. Let’s say the landlord has proposed a date and time for the initial inspection, and the tenant cannot meet during the landlord’s first suggested inspection time. In that case, the landlord can follow up with a second and final opportunity to schedule a condition inspection using a Notice of Final Opportunity to Schedule a Condition Inspection form.
Once a tenant moves into the property, they could reside there for years, so having documentation of the property between the landlord and tenant will take the guesswork out of whether property damage was a pre-existing problem or if the tenant caused the damage. The inspection form benefits the landlord and the tenant. The inspection report will determine if the tenant is owed a full security deposit fee or must pay for property damage.
A Rental or Rent Receipt form is proof of payment showing that a tenant has paid their rent or deposit. It includes pertinent information for the landlord and renter to keep on file, including NSF fees, date, method of payment, and signatures.
Required forms to end a tenancy
Whether you are ending a tenancy prematurely so that you or family members can live in the home, or in the worst-case scenario, choosing to evict a tenant, every property owner must abide by strict regulations. There are multiple reasons a landlord would decide to evict, and each cause has a corresponding legal form. Here are the most common reasons why people are evicted:
- Non-payment of rent
- Interfering with others, damage, or overcrowding
- Illegal acts or misrepresenting income
- Landlord, a purchaser, or a family member requires the rental unit
- Landlord wants to demolish the rental unit, repair it, or convert it to another use
Here you will find a list of various legal forms to use when terminating a tenancy:
- Notice Terminating or Restricting a Service or Facility
- 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy for Unpaid Rent or Utilities
- One Month Notice to End Tenancy
- Two Month Notice to End Tenancy
- Four Month Notice to End Tenancy for Demolition or Conversion of the Rental Unit to Another Use
- 12 Month Notice to End Tenancy for Conversion of Manufactured Home Park
- Mutual Agreement to End a Tenancy
- Proof of Service Notice to End Tenancy and Written Demand to Pay Utilities
Explore more landlord tenancy forms in British Columbia.
45-Day Notice of Availability
Suppose a landlord submitted an order to end a tenancy for repairs or renovations. A landlord will use the 45-Day Notice of Availability form to notify the tenant of the rental unit’s date of availability.
Rent increases in British Columbia
Rent increases in Canada vary by the laws governing each province. A landlord cannot increase the rent during the first 12 months after a rental agreement is signed. Once 12 months have passed on a fixed-term lease, they can increase the rent, no more than the maximum limit, only once every 12 months. The maximum rent increase limit in British Columbia is 2% annually.
Typically, a landlord will employ a rent increase on a current tenant when they wish to increase their rental income. As a property manager, you must submit the proper rent increase form for your investment property at least three months in advance.
As a landlord managing property in BC, it’s important to understand loopholes in this rule. For instance, rental properties that change tenants can impose a more significant rent increase that exceeds the set limit of 2% annually.
If the previous tenant had been residing in the residential property for many years, they might have been paying notably below the average rent. Now that the space is vacant, landlords can take stock of the current market value, the property’s condition, and the rental property location and increase the rent with incoming tenants when establishing the rental agreement.
Considering all the fixed and variable expenses, you can conclude how much to charge your new tenants. These costs include:
Hard costs are incurred every month and include:
- Mortgage payment
- Property taxes
- Property management fees (even if you plan to do this yourself)
- Utilities (if applicable)
Soft costs vary and may include:
- Vacancy rate (budget at one month vacancy, which equals 8%)
- Repairs and maintenance (dependent and specific to the rental property)
- Reserve funds (i.e. emergency fund, safety net, etc.)
Here are rent increase guidelines property owners in British Columbia must follow:
- Tenants are not obligated to pay unlawful rent increases, which are rent increases that are higher than what is regulated. Exceptions will apply for additional rent increases approved by the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB).
- For landlords to raise the rent higher than the annual set standard, they must either have the tenant’s written consent or get approval from the RTB.
- A 2% rent increase is permitted every 12 months.
- Property managers must submit a written rent increase notice no less than three full months before it takes effect.
Rent increase forms
Notify tenants of rent increases with the appropriate forms that apply to your rental property:
- Notice of Rent Increase Residential Rental Units
- Notice of Standard Rent Increase-Manufactured Home Site
- Notice of Rent Increase Manufactured Home Site
- Notice of Additional Rent Increase-Eligible Capital Expenditures (Phase 2)
If eligible, a landlord may apply for an additional rent increase by submitting the Application for Additional Rent Increase to the RTB office.
After a landlord has successfully applied with the RTB for an additional rent increase that is eligible for expenditures, they must issue the following two rent increase forms at least three months in advance:
- Notice of Additional Rent Increase – Eligible Capital Expenditures (Phase 1)
- Notice of Additional Rent Increase – Eligible Capital Expenditures (Phase 1 Details)
To learn more about expenses on a residential property that qualifies for additional rent increases beyond the 2% set limit, read about the rules for imposing additional rent increases.
Tenancy laws and rules in British Columbia
During the tenant screening process, it’s essential for landlords to follow a set of guidelines that ensures tenants are protected against discrimination and landlords are equally protected against discrimination accusations or litigation.
A landlord cannot use any of the following reasons to reject an application:
- Income assistance as a source of income
- Race, ethnicity, and nationality
- Religious affiliations
- Marital and family status
- Gender or gender identity
From a property managerial standpoint, avoiding disputes between landlords and tenants is essential in operating a smooth rental process. From pre-screening to tenant screening, landlords should understand what they can and cannot consider when choosing a tenant. The tenancy laws apply to real estate investors managing properties, as well as landlords.
While a landlord can limit the number of people residing in their investment property, they cannot turn away applicants because they have children.
The property owner or landlord can decide whether or not they will permit a pet inside their rental property. The only exception to this rule is the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act, which states that a landlord cannot refuse or charge a pet deposit from a prospective tenant with a legitimate guide dog or service dog.
FAQ: British Columbia rental agreements and procedures
In a rental application, it’s common for a tenant to provide the following information for the screening process: date of birth, proof of income, references or identification, Social Insurance Number, and consent for a background and credit check. Through proper screening, landlords can ensure that they receive their rent payments and that their property is safe.
Yes! Landlords must submit a written tenancy agreement for each tenancy, abiding by Canadian and provincial laws. Additionally, landlords may provide addendums and require security deposits.
A fixed-term period is 12 months. A renter can lose their deposit if they break their lease agreement before the year has expired. Additionally, breaking the lease can result in a negative reference when future landlords are screening an applicant’s rental history.
Our final thoughts
Tenant reports, including credit checks, background checks, and income insights, can help landlords and real estate agents filter through applications and narrow down the candidates s to the most risk-free applicants. SingleKey enhances the overall rental process from start to finish with valuable tools to screen for great tenants, collect monthly rent payments, and protect investment property income.
Sign up for free today and enjoy better outcomes in your property management journey.