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Tenancy Problems - Sharing Accommodation

 Related Legal Forms Provided by LawDepot.com
- Roommate Agreement
- Notice of Intent to Vacate
- Notice of Termination
Q: I moved into a house 2 months ago. A friend of mine had moved in 1 month earlier. We have the upstairs and have one other room mate who has lived there for 2 years. We have access to the downstairs, but the downstairs is where another rommate lives and is basicly his area. Upstairs and down have their own washroom and kitchen.

We pay rent to the roommate that lives downstairs. He has lived in the house for 7 years and is the only one on the lease for the house. We all pay him rent each month. He just gave 2 of us 2 moths notice to move as his girlfriend and her 2 daughters are moving in and the daughters will be taking over our rooms.
What are our rights in this situation. We basicly have a verbal agreement to rent the rooms yet are not on the lease.
Does he owe us a months rent. What is our legal status?

Much accommodation in Vancouver is shared. If you move in with strangers and pay them rent, then are you not a tenant?
A: Not everybody who pays rent is a tenant. Homestays, foreign students renting rooms, people in hostels, vacation property rentals etc., all pay rent but aren't tenants. Neither are a host of others. Section 4 of the Act sets out what the Act doesn't apply to, and it makes interesting reading.
Residential Tenancy Policy Guideline 13 identifies a tenant as a person who has signed a tenancy agreement to rent residential premises. Where there is no written rental agreement, the person who made the oral agreement to rent the premises and pay the rent is the tenant. The Residential Tenancy Office Policy Guideline is found at http://www.rto.gov.bc.ca/documents/GL13.pdf
The guideline continues: Co-tenants are two or more tenants who rent the same property under the same tenancy agreement. Co-tenants are jointly responsible for the rental and have equal rights under the agreement. It falls to the co-tenants to decide amongst themselves who will pay what share of the rent and utilities to the landlord.
Tenants in common sharing the same premises or portion of the premises may enter into a separate tenancy agreement with the landlord, and will have the same rights and obligations as an ordinary tenant with a separate tenancy - he isn't responsible for debt and damages in any other tenancy in such a case as this. In the absence of clear evidence of a tenancy in common, the presumption at law is that it is a joint tenancy.
An occupant is someone the tenant has allowed to move into the premises and may even share the rent, but the occupant has no rights or obligations under the agreement unless all parties agree to enter into a tenancy agreement to include the new occupant as a tenant.
If you really want to be included as a tenant, ask the landlord to amend the tenancy agreement and have you identified as a tenant. That way you will have peace of mind along with all the rights and obligations of a tenant as set out in the agreement.


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