How to Best Handle Unauthorized Tenants in Your Kelowna Home - Article Banner

The tenants living in your rental home have been screened and approved, either by you or your property management team. They’ve signed the rental agreement and have agreed to pay rent in exchange for the use of your rental property. 

So what happens if unauthorized tenants who are not part of the lease agreement start living in your rental unit? 

When you find there are people in your property who have not been screened or approved, you’re in a frustrating situation. How are you supposed to handle it?

We have some tips for you, based on the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) and our experience managing Kelowna rental homes

Who Are Unauthorized Tenants and Why are They a Problem?

The Residential Tenancies Act does not provide a definition for “occupant” or “roommate.” However, you know that a tenant is someone you have approved to live in your home. Those people living in your home who are not authorized to be there might be:

  • Long term guests who never leave
  • People subletting the home from your approved tenant prior without agreement between the the landlord and tenant
  • Squatters who are taking advantage of a vacant home

Why are they a problem for you?

Unauthorized tenants can cause damage to your property. It will be difficult to hold them accountable for any problems they cause.

Having more people in the home will also contribute to extra wear and tear. Things will deteriorate quicker, and you’ll find your turnover costs to be much higher if your home was occupied by 4 people instead of the 2 people who were originally on the lease agreement. 

Unauthorized occupants never sigh a lease, so they’re not legally responsible for the rent under your tenancy agreement.

If you have unathorized tenants living at your property who are not paying rent, have not signed a lease, and refuse to vacate the home, you might have to evict them. You won’t be able to enforce any part of your lease agreement with an unauthorized occupant living in your home.

How to Handle Unauthorized Kelowna Tenants

Sign Lease AgreementYou basically have two choices when it comes to unauthorized tenants in your property. You can either require them to move out of your rental property, or you can re-write a new joint tenancy lease to include them. 

Here’s what removing or allowing an unauthorized tenant might look like: 

  • If your original tenant who was screened and signed the lease has moved out, leaving only the unauthorized tenant, the RTA allows you to apply to the Board to terminate the former tenant agreement and evict the unauthorized occupant from your residential rental premises. There are timelines involved; you’ll need to do this within 60 days of finding out your tenant has moved out and some unauthorized person has moved in.
  • If your approved tenant is still in the property, you’ll need to discuss the terms of your lease agreement with them. Send a letter regarding the unauthorized tenant, and provide a timeline for when you expect that person to be out of the property.
  • You can negotiate a new lease with the unauthorized tenant. This is legally allowed by the RTA. You’ll basically deal with the unauthorized persons as if they were moving into your vacant property as prospective tenants. You can set a new rent, screen your tenant, perform an inspection to protect yourself against property damage, and sign a lease agreement. 

It’s important that your property is only occupied by tenants who have been screened and signed a lease agreement. Protect you and your property by acting quickly when an unauthorized person appears to be living in your BC home.

How to Write a Warning Letter for Unauthorized Tenants

If you discover that you have unauthorized tenants living in your rental home, and you’re not interested in signing a new lease agreement with them, it’s a good idea to write a formal warning letter that politely spells out your demands and the potential consequences for the tentants involved.

A warning letter for unauthorized tenants should include:

  • Your name, address, and date.
  • The tenant’s name and address.
  • An explanation that:
    • You’ve received information about unauthorized occupants in the rental unit. If possible, identify them by name and the dates they have been present on your property.
    • They are in breach of their lease agreement, with reference to section 34 of the RTA (Assignment and Subletting).
    • Eviction proceedings and legal consequences may follow if the issue is not resolved in a given timeframe.
  • A reasonable timeframe for your tenant to comply.
  • A recommendation to seek legal guidance or consult the RTA to understand their rights and responsibilities as a tenant in British Columbia.
  • An amicable closing statement, along with your contact information.


Need Help With Unauthorized Tenants in Kelowna, or Vernon, BC?

If you have any questions or you’re worried that this is already a problem in one of your properties, please contact us at Vantage West Property Management. Our team of Kelowna and Vernon property managers is happy to help guide you towards a better future as a property investor.