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Landlording Problems - Guests / Visitors

Q: Can you please provide me with a definition of an occupant as opposed to an overnight guest. I am a tenant on a month by month rental agreement with my landlord. I am the only one named on the lease. Recently, my girlfriend has been staying over more frequently (approx. 3-4x/wk) . She maintains her own residence and has not moved any possessions to my place. However, my landlord, who lives downstairs, wishes to increase my rent claiming she is a new occupant. I maintain she is an overnight guest and no increase is warranted. There was no provision for additional occupants on the original lease. I feel confident in my position and would feel silly if this went to arbitration but the act doesn't define occupancy or unreasonable number of occupants.
A: Section 30 of the Act states: 'the landlord must not restrict access to residential property by ?. (b) a person permitted on the residential property by that tenant.? This means that the landlord cannot restrict who the tenant may have as a guest and he cannot restrict visitors to certain hours, days, etc. Neither can the landlord restrict who the tenant may have as an overnight guest.
If your landlord thinks you've moved in a permanent tenant / occupant it should be easy enough for you to show she isn't. If your landlord isn't persuaded he could move against you under section 47(h) which would be an argument that it is a material term of the tenancy agreement that x number of people were to live in the rental premises and now there are x plus 1, and moving in the extra person is so serious that it puts the kibosh on the whole tenancy.
As for the increase in rent thing - rent increases require notice periods, formulas, and government paperwork. Landlords can't just up the rent when they feel like it or because they think they can get away with it - they must go through the hoops like everybody else in this world. Charging extra for guests is something that hostels, campgrounds and hotels might do but any authority to charge extra for guests isn't found in the Residential Tenancy Act of BC.


 
 

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