Residential tenancy laws in British Columbia are sometimes confusing and often misunderstood. For Tenants who want to end a tenancy, there are specific requirements which must be included in their written notice. If the notice isn’t fully complete, it could be considered improper or unacceptable.
Requirements for Ending a Month-to-Month Tenancy
- Notice must be in writing.
- Notice must be received by the Landlord on a day before the rent is due. Assuming rent is due on the 1st of the month, if a Tenant wants to leave, for example, on April 30, then notice must be received by the Landlord NO LATER than March 31.
- Notice must include:
- Tenant’s name
- Address of the rental property, including unit number
- The date the tenancy will end
- Notice must include the Tenant’s signature.
Note: If there is more than one Tenant on the Tenancy Agreement and one gives notice to the Landlord, it ends the Tenancy for all of the Tenants. Any Tenants who want to remain in the rental property must then enter into a new agreement with the Landlord.
It’s also important to note that while the requirements for giving notice and serving it on the Landlord are the same for both Fixed Term tenancies and Month-to-Month tenancies, a Fixed Term tenancy cannot be ended by a Tenant on a date that falls before the expiry date of the tenancy in the Tenancy Agreement.
Serving Notice to the Landlord
There are several ways Tenants can give written notice to their Landlord. And depending on which method is used, the date the notice is considered received can vary.
- If you give a copy directly to the Landlord, in person, it is considered received on the day you give it to them.
- If you leave a copy with the Landlord’s agent, for example a Property Manager, it is considered received on the same day you leave it with them.
- If you send it via registered mail to the Landlord’s residential address or the address where they conduct business as a Landlord, it will be considered received five (5) days later. Make sure to hold onto the registered mail receipt for proof of mailing and to track for proof of delivery.
- Post a copy of the notice on the door or other obvious place at the address where the Landlord conducts business as a Landlord. This will be considered received three (3) days later.
- Dropping it in a mailbox/mail slot at the address where the Landlord conducts business as a Landlord, or faxing it to the Landlord both are deemed received three (3) days later.
- Emailing the Landlord is considered received three (3) days later, but only if the Landlord has provided an email address specifically for service. Tenants should confirm with the Landlord before using this method that it is acceptable.
- Notice CANNOT be given via text message or by sliding a copy under the Landlord’s door and is not considered acceptable under the Residential Tenancy Act.
- Notice to end a Tenancy can’t be cancelled or withdrawn by the Tenant unless the Landlord agrees in writing.
When Does the Tenancy End?
All Tenancies end at 1 p.m. on the last day of the tenancy. From our example above, if you give notice to end the tenancy on April 30, the Tenant must be ready to give the keys to the Landlord, no later than 1 p.m. on April 30. All packing, cleaning, and removal of belongings must be done before this time.
Once you’ve given notice, the hard work starts – packing, organizing moving companies or helpers, cleaning, and vacating the property. Ask the Landlord for a cleaning checklist and double check the Tenancy Agreement to see what is needed at the end of the Tenancy such as carpet cleaning or other similar requirements.
Residential Tenancy laws require the rental property be returned in a clean, damage free condition, reasonable wear and tear excepted. It’s a good idea to speak to the Landlord or have them come to the rental property to review what is expected before the last day of the Tenancy. This way, the Tenant has an opportunity to repair any damages or complete any additional cleaning.