Tenancy Advice - Ending Tenancy by Tenant

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Tenancy Problems - Ending Tenancy by Tenant

 Related Legal Forms Provided by LawDepot.com
- Notice of Intent to Vacate
- Letter of Intent
Q: I signed a contract that states that the minimum length of the agreement is eight months from the occupancy date. As a result when I signed the contract I thought that meant I only had to stay there for the 8 months minimum. Since moving in there, my landlord has made life hell, intruding into my home without notice etc etc. Naturally I decided to give my notice as soon as my lease was up. I did so a month and a day early, written as per the RTA specifics. I immediately got a written response saying that if I left I would forfeit my security deposits (which by the way are a WHOLE month of rent, not the legal half month!)... The reasoning: because of a clause in the contract called "Termination Notice" that says, "After the required minimum stay period of eight months, a written one-month advance notice is required by either party to terminate this agreement." He says that I am required to give my notice on the first day of my ninth month if I want out of my lease. Does that make any sense? Would I be able to challenge that?
Also, there is a disclaimer in the contract that says that it is a private agreement not intending to reflect the residential tenancy act. He doesn't think I have any rights to claim my deposit. Is this true? Can you be outside the law?
A: Dear Help!! The first thing you should do is show your landlord section 5 of the Residential Tenancy Act of BC which says: "Landlords and tenants may not avoid or contract out of this Act or the regulations." Then you might want to ask your landlord what's up with the 'private agreement ... not intending ...' bit? You can follow up with a question on what authority he is relying on when he says you gotta' forfeit your security deposit, especially in light of section 20 (e) of the Act. By the time you get to why he's been charging a full month's rent for a security deposit when only 1/2 a month's rent is allowed, in obvious contravention of section 19 (1) of the Act, he'll be coming around to your point of view. You might then finish your landlord off with a question about what ground, provision, authority, etc. he thinks permits an 8 month lease to require notice to be given on the first day of the 9th month? And just how does that work, exactly? I suggest you go after your landlord on this, and more if the mood strikes you. I don't have a lot of tolerance for people who won't get the rules, play by the rules, or comply with the rules. These people are road kill and natural prey for the savvy and informed; in fact, some delight in taking these people apart, which I was known to do from time to time in the odd arbitration hearing.


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