Q:On April 1, 2006 I moved into a small efficiency apartment paying a rent of 595.00 per month. On April 5, 2006 (five days later) I received a notice stating ?As of May 1, 2006 the rent will increase by $150 per month, per unit? and then there was some rationale for this increase about the cost of the power and gas billing. I am new to the city so after my initial outrage I went to work and was clued into your website by some co-worker. After a little reading up I now know that this is totally illegal (three month notice, and only the 3.8% - per year increase, etc). Two weeks later (April 20) I receive another notice stating that as of August 01, 2006 my rent would increase by $150 per month and that if I didn't agree to the rent increase then I would need to vacate the apartment so that the owners family member could move in. Well there is no way I am going to agree to pay that extra $150 for this efficiency so I have a couple of question. Because I just moved into this apartment at the beginning of the month - and I know they increased the rent by $100. 00 between me and the previous renter can he again raise the rent within the same year? Next, I am trying to maximize my amount of time I can stay here (I just moved and not only do I not want to move again right away but I also can't afford it for a little while). If I do not agree to pay this increase on August 1 will the landlord then have to serve me with the eviction and I will then have two months from that point to find a place or will the notice that he gave me on April 20 suffice as the two months? None of the notices the landlord has given me has been on any official paperwork. Can I use this as way to bide my time a bit? Any information would be greatly appreciated. I found your website extremely helpful.
A: Nice to see that my Q & A column is having an affect - glad to note that information is easy to find in the archives and that people are using it to their advantage. Rent increases are laid out in section 40, 41, 42 and 43 of the Act along with sections 22 & 23 of the Regulations. increasing the rent is detailed and requires strict adherence to the rules. If not done right the landlord is prevented from raising the rent at all, and can't try again for another year. Schedule 6 shows in simple form how and when an increase can apply.
The landlord can only increase the rent once a year even if he is a new landlord. The landlord must give at least 3 months written notice, and must use RTO Form - 7. The annual allowable rent increase is based on a mathematical calculation that involves the rate of inflation and a set percentage. If the landlord has completed significant repairs or renovations to the residential property in which the rental unit is located he can ask an Arbitrator for an additional rent increase. There is also a wrinkle I've mentioned earlier and it is that if the landlord and tenant agree in writing on a rent increase, no application to an Arbitrator is necessary.
Check the government website to be certain but I beleive the current allowable increase for month-to-month tenancies is 3.8%. If your landlord follows thorugh with the proper paperwork he could only stick it to you for about $15 and change more a month, in my calculations. Obviously, if your landlord moves to evict you he'll have to do it on proper forms too, and you'll have a chance to throw his April 5th letter back at him in any arbitration hearing. Your landlord's motivations will be obvious and won't go down well with the Arbitrator. Trust me; landlords get taken apart in cases like these. It's seen as an obvious try to circumvent the rules, it's greedy, and it is unbecoming.
I advise you to start with the Act and go from there because information is power. An electronic version of the Act is located at http://www.qp.gov.bc.ca/statreg/stat/R/02078_01.htm