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Tenancy Problems - Landlord's Entry

Q: A property management company sent a letter to all tenants that included the following:
Pursuant to section 29 of the Residential Tenancy Act, we will be conducting an Inspection of all areas leased to you (all rooms, closets, bathrooms, storage areas, yard and garage will be checked) for the purposes of compliance with our Insurance Agency. Specifically, an inspection for fire hazards and compliance that the premises are only being used for legal activities. We will also be conducting a deficiency inspection.
Please make ALL areas accessible at the time of inspection. (We want to minimize the drilling of any locks). You can drop your keys off to Manager before going to work. Also, if you could make a list of things that you think need attending to and provide at the time of the inspection.

This inspection will be conducted on a regular basis no less than every thirty days. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.
Sections 28 and 29 of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) provide:
28 A tenant is entitled to quiet enjoyment including, but not limited to, rights to the following:
(a) reasonable privacy;
(b) freedom from unreasonable disturbance;
(c) exclusive possession of the rental unit subject only to the landlord?s right to enter the rental unit in accordance with s. 29;
(d) use of common areas for reasonable and lawful purposes, free from significant interference.
29(1) A landlord must not enter a rental unit that is subject to a tenancy agreement for any purpose unless one of the following applies:
(a) the tenant gives permission at the time of entry or not more than 30 days before the entry;
(b) at least 24 hours and not more than 30 days before the entry, the landlord gives the tenant written notice that includes the following information:
(i) the purpose for entering, which must be reasonable;
(ii) the date and time of the entry, which must be between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. unless the tenant otherwise agrees;
(2) A landlord may inspect a rental unit monthly in accordance with subsection 1(b).
Issues:
Are the inspections announced by the property management company in accordance with the RTA? Specifically, is the reason for the inspections likely to be found ?reasonable??
If the announced inspections are not in accordance with the law, what recourse does a tenant have?
Are there any means of challenging the insurance company for requiring these inspections as part of its policy (i.e. what other privacy legislation could be at issue and is there an argument, for example, that the insurance company?s policy requires landlords to act as the company?s agent for the purposes of unauthorized collection of personal information)?
A: The property management company has sent you chapter and verse of the Act, outlining what they want to do, why, and under what authority. Apparently, you don't accept that the landlord's intended action is reasonable.
If I'm correct in my reading of your information, you don't believe or trust the landlord; you question if he really is complying with his insurer's requirement. It appears to me that you think the landlord's inspecting for "fire hazards and compliance that the premises are only being used for legal activities" isn't his real motivation.
If you deny the landlord access to the rental premises, he can file a claim in arbitration seeking an order for landlord's access. If you challenge his claim in arbitration you'll get to present your objections to an Arbitrator, who will probably side with your landlord absent any persuasive evidence to the contrary.
Instead of getting yourself all worked up, and putting yourself, the landlord, the RTB and a few others to a whole lot of trouble, why don't you take your concerns directly to the landlord himself. If you value a healthy relationship with your landlord and are courteous and civil, you might be very surprised when your landlord produces communication from his insurance agency about why all this needs to be done.
I'd only consider pushing this to arbitration as a last resort - trust me, taking stuff through the government process is taxing, time consuming, stressful, and expensive - plus I think you'd lose in the circumstances you describe.


 
 

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