How to Serve an Eviction Notice | Kelowna Landlord Advice - Article Banner

If you manage a rental property in BC, Canada and you’re dealing with bad tenants, planning to have a family member move into your home, or plan to make major renovations, you may have the legal right to evict your tenants.

According to a UBC study, British Columbia maintains the highest eviction rate in the country, with 10.5% of renter households reporting forced moves between April 2016 and early 2021, compared to the national average of 5.9%.

Evicting a tenant is unpleasant for both landlords and tenants. Even if you’re relieved to be removing a terrible tenant, the process is emotional, time-consuming, and in some cases – expensive.

This blog – which is educational and should not be considered legal advice – explains the different situations that constitute a legal reason for eviction, and exactly what to do if you have to evict your tenants.

We’ll also discuss best practices for tenant screening and communication to help you avoid evictions completely.

On What Grounds Can You Evict a Tenant in BC?

10-Day Notice for Unpaid Rent or Utilities

The most common reason to evict is because the tenant is repeatedly paying rent late – or not at all.

If this is why you’re evicting your tenant, you must first serve a 10 Day Notice and then follow the legal process in the courts.

Unpaid rent: If your tenant fails to pay rent on time – even one day late – or they do not pay you the full amount, you can serve them with a 10-day eviction notice.

Unpaid utilities: If your tenant fails to pay for utilities on time, you can serve them a 30-day written notice demanding to pay utilities. If they fail to pay within 30 days, you can serve them with a 10-day eviction notice.

One Month Eviction Notice

Disturbances and safety concerns: Your tenant, or somebody they invite onto the property:

  • interferes or disturbs other occupants or you (the landlord)
  • affects the health, safety or rights of others – including the right to quiet enjoyment
  • or puts your property at risk

Property damage: Your tenant, or somebody your tenant allows onto your rental property, causes damage to the rental unit or common areas.

Failure to repair property damage: Your tenant neglects or does not repair the damage they caused to your rental unit or common areas.

Government Orders: If your rental unit must be vacated to comply with an order from a federal, British Columbia, regional, or municipal government authority, eviction may be warranted.

Illegal Activities: Eviction may be initiated if the tenant or someone allowed on the property engages in illegal activities that result in or are likely to cause harm to the landlord’s property, affect the well-being of others, or compromise the quiet enjoyment, security, or safety of the premises.

Non-Compliance with Director’s Orders: If a tenant fails to comply with an order from the director within 30 days of receiving the directive or the specified date in the order, eviction may be pursued.

Non-Payment of Deposits: Eviction proceedings may be initiated if the tenant fails to pay the security deposit or pet damage deposit within 30 days of the due date.

Occupancy Violations: If there is an unreasonable number of occupants in a rental unit, eviction may be considered under RTA Section 13.2.

Two Month Eviction Notice

According to RTA Sections 49 and 49.1 of the Residential Tenancy Act, landlords typically issue a Two Month Notice to End Tenancy (RTB Form 32) to tenants in the following situations:

  1. Landlord or Close Family Member Occupancy:
    • The landlord or a close family member of the landlord intends to occupy the tenant’s rental unit.

    Section 49 of the RTA defines a close family member as either:

    • The landlord’s parent, spouse, or child.
    • The parent or child of the landlord’s spouse.

    Distant relatives like brothers, sisters, aunts, nieces, or other relatives do not qualify as “close family members” under the Residential Tenancy Act.

  2. Sale of Rental Unit:
    • The rental unit has been sold, and the purchaser or a close family member of the purchaser wishes to occupy the unit.
  3. Tenant Ineligibility for Subsidized Rental Unit:
    • The tenant no longer qualifies for their subsidized rental unit.

Any tenants receiving 2 month eviction notices have a 15-day window to dispute their eviction and apply for dispute resolution after receiving the notice.

Four Month Eviction Notice for Demolition or Conversion

As a landlord in BC, you may issue a Four Month Notice to End Tenancy for various reasons, including:

  • Demolish the rental unit
  • Convert the residential property into:
    • strata lots under the Strata Property Act
    • cooperative housing under the Cooperative Association Act
    • a rental unit for use by a caretaker, manager, or superintendent of the residential property
    • a rental unit to a non-residential use, such as a store

If you obtain an order of possession for demolition or conversion, you’re legally required to pay your tenant the equivalent of one month’s rent. Tenants have 30 days to dispute the eviction and apply for a dispute resolution hearing.

Four Month Eviction Notice for Major Repairs

As BC landlords, you are permitted to terminate a tenancy for renovation or repairs with 4 months’ notice, known as “Possession for Renovations,” under the following conditions:

  1. The renovations or repairs are deemed necessary to prolong or sustain the use of the rental unit or the building.
  2. Ending the tenancy agreement is the only reasonable means to achieve the required vacancy for completing the renovations or repairs.

Twelve Month Eviction Notice for Converting a Manufactured Home Park

Landlords may issue a 12 Month Notice to End Tenancy when converting a manufactured home park to a different purpose, such as non-residential use.

Before serving this notice, landlords must ensure they have all necessary permits and approvals in place. Tenants have 15 days after receiving the eviction notice to dispute it or seek dispute resolution.

For more details on the different types of evictions in BC, check the BC Government website.

How to Enforce an Eviction in BC

If your tenant doesn’t comply with your eviction notice, here’s how to enforce an eviction and regain possession of your rental property in British Columbia:

  1. Serve the evicted tenants with a copy of the Order of Possession.
  2. Wait for the 2-day review period to expire, then file an application for review consideration with the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB).
  3. Use the Order of Possession to obtain a Writ of Possession from the BC Supreme Court to remove the tenant and their belongings.

What is an Order of Possession?

An Order of Possession is granted by the court and allows a landlord to reclaim possession of a rental unit. However, it does not authorize the landlord to physically remove the tenant. For instance, an Order of Possession does not permit a landlord to throw a tenant’s belongings onto the street or change the locks to the rental unit before the tenant has moved out.

What is a Writ of Possession?

A Writ of Possession directs the sheriff or constable to lock the tenant out after a waiting period of 10 days following the Order. It is the final step in the eviction process, ensuring the landlord’s legal right to regain possession of the property.

Tips on Evicting Tenants in BC

Follow Legal Procedures

If you need to evict tenants for any reason, make sure you familiarize yourself with the Residential Tenancy Act, make sure you follow the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) rules when serving the eviction notice.

Use the correct RTB eviction form, provide a valid reason for eviction, and adhere to the specified timelines described earlier in this blog.

If you don’t follow the timelines and legal responsibilities of the Residential Tenancy Act during an eviction, you can face penalties of your own.

To manage a professional eviction that ultimately results in regaining possession of your property, we recommend working with an experienced lawyer who knows the Residential Tenancy Act inside and out.

Document All of Your Actions

Good documentation can protect you from risk and liability during an eviction. It can also move the process along more smoothly and with less expense. It’s critical to keep copies of all correspondence. Hold onto your lease agreement, accounting records, and a copy of the 10 Day Notice that you served.

If your tenant disputes the eviction, be prepared to provide evidence to justify it. Gather witness testimonies, documents, or pictures that support your case. Share this evidence with the tenant at least 7 days before any hearing.

Track any phone calls or messages. You’ll be called upon to explain why you are evicting the tenant and what you have done up to the point of the court action. Make sure you have flawless and detailed documentation. Be organized, and make sure you are not in any way violating the law.

Communicate Effectively

Maintain open lines of communication with your tenant. Discuss the move-out date and any potential changes in writing. Being transparent and respectful can help ease the process.

Avoid Evictions Completely

It may sound obvious, but the best way to deal with evictions is by avoiding them.

When you’re screening for future tenants, make sure you’re looking carefully at their financial status and their income. You want to be sure they have the resources to pay rent on time. It’s also important to check their rental history. Make sure past landlords had a good experience and would be willing to rent to them again.

If you have a good relationship with your resident, the likelihood that you’ll have to evict is much lower. Usually, you can work out an alternative arrangement to get your property back, even if the tenant cannot pay rent or needs to break the lease.

Vantage West Property Management

If you own a rental property in Kelowna and you’re not sure what steps to take to evict a tenant, contact us at Vantage West Property Management for advice. We’d be happy to share our tools and resources if you find yourself in this unfortunate position.

If you’d like more certainty with your investment property, our Guaranteed Rents Program offers a risk-free solution for finding quality tenants and ensuring a profit on your investment through a proven 2-year rent guarantee.