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Resources

Monthly Budget Worksheet 

This worksheet will help you prepare a monthly budget to estimate how much rent you can afford. First, list money that you earn or have available each month (income). Then, list all of the things you commonly pay for each month (expenses). The balance between your income and expenses represents how money you have available each month. As a general rule, rental housing is considered affordable if it costs less than 30% of your before-tax household income.

 

Fill out this worksheet on screen, download it electronically, or print it and complete it by hand.

One-Time Move in Expenses Worksheet

Moving to a new place can be expensive. On top of your monthly rent, you may have additional costs during your move. Do you need to pay a security deposit, rent a moving truck, or buy new furniture? Before committing to a new place, use this worksheet to estimate your one-time move-in expenses.

 

Fill out this worksheet on screen, download it electronically, or print it and complete it by hand.

Needs and Preferences Worksheet 

When deciding on a new place to rent, you will have to consider multiple factors and weigh your options. What are the pros and cons of each place? More importantly, how do you rank those pros and cons? To help you focus your search, use this worksheet to prioritize various housing features, and write notes about what you are looking for in a new home.

 

Fill out this worksheet on screen, download it electronically, or print it and complete it by hand.

Roommate Questionnaire 

There are benefits to living with a roommate. Sharing accommodation can cut down your expenses, offer companionship, and provide a sense of security. At the same time, finding the wrong roommate can have a serious impact on your enjoyment of your rental unit and overall quality of life. If you decide to get a roommate, try to choose someone with whom you are compatible in some fundamental ways. When searching for a suitable roommate, we recommend considering the 20 questions listed in this questionnaire.

 

Fill out this worksheet on screen, download it electronically, or print it and complete it by hand.

References Worksheet

Most landlords will ask for previous housing references with your rental application. This worksheet encourages you to find not only previous housing references, but also employment and personal references. Providing a range of references may set you apart from other applicants and increase your chances of convincing the landlord that you will be a good tenant.

 

Fill out this worksheet on screen, download it electronically, or print it and complete it by hand.

Pet Resume Template 

It can be challenging to find pet-friendly rental housing since landlords are allowed to prohibit pets on their properties. In order to increase your chances of securing the right place for you and your pet, use this template to highlight your pet's training, good behaviour, and positive history in rental buildings.

 

You can download this template electronically or print it and complete it by hand.

Cover Letter Template

Most landlords don’t require a cover letter, but preparing one can set you apart from other applicants and increase your chances of securing a rental unit.  This template will help you create your own cover letter that tells potential landlords about yourself, and why you will be a good tenant.

                                                              

You can download this template electronically or print it and complete it by hand.

Credit Report

Most landlords will ask for your permission to obtain a copy of your credit report. Instead of waiting for them to ask, it may help to come prepared with your own. Showing this sort of initiative may set you apart from other applicants and increase your chances of securing a rental unit.

 

This activity will help you find and complete the documents needed to request free credit reports from both TransUnion and Equifax.

Tenancy Agreement Checklist

A tenancy agreement is a legal contract. Once you have signed your agreement, you can only make changes with your landlord's written consent. Before signing a tenancy agreement, use this checklist to make sure that you have covered all of your bases.

 

Fill out this worksheet on screen, download it electronically, or print it and complete it by hand.

Sample Application Form

There are many different rental application forms used throughout BC, but a lot of applications ask the same questions. Download this sample application to familiarize yourself with what a standard application looks like in BC. 

 

Template Letters

 

 

Template Letters

TRAC has developed a long list of template letters on bed bugs, deposits, illegal rent increases, and many more topics. Please feel free to use our letters as a starting point. From there, you can add the details of your situation, the date, and your signature before sending them off to your landlord. 

 

Timeline Calculators

 

 

Timeline Calculators

The Residential Tenancy Branch offers calculators to help ensure that you don’t miss important deadlines. 

 

Find an Advocate Map

 

 

Find an Advocate Map

Use Povnet’s Find an Advocate Map to find a legal advocate near you. Legal Advocates can provide information and/or representation to tenants with low incomes and/or disabilities. Each legal advocacy organization has its own eligibility criteria. 

 

Rent Receipts

 

 

Rent Receipts

You have the right to receive a receipt when paying rent in cash. If your landlord does not want to provide you with receipts, bring the ones provided here. 

 

Tenants Journal

 

 

Tenant’s Journal

It is important to stay organized and keep a record of what happens during your tenancy. Use this Tenant’s Journal to create a paper trail of noteworthy events and communication with your landlord. 

Residential Tenancy Act

The Residential Tenancy Act is the law in BC that covers most types of rental units, and outlines the rights and responsibilities for both tenants and landlords.

Residential Tenancy Regulation

The Residential Tenancy Regulation is a law that supplements the Residential Tenancy Act, and provides more detailed information on certain sections.

Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act

The Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act is the law that applies to people who own a manufactured home, or mobile home, and rent the land that it sits on. If you rent both the home and the land, you fall under the Residential Tenancy Act instead.

Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Regulation

The Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Regulation is a law that supplements the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act, and provides more detailed information on certain sections.

Dispute Resolution Rules of Procedure

The Residential Tenancy Branch publishes Rules of Procedure for their dispute resolution service. These rules cover topics such as timelines for submitting evidence, common hearing procedures, and the Arbitrator’s decision. It is important to read through these rules if you will be participating in a dispute resolution hearing.

Strata Property Act

The Strata Property Act is the law that covers strata units (condos and townhomes) in BC. Some sections cover legal rights and responsibilities for tenants renting strata properties.

BC Human Rights Code

The BC Human Rights Code is the law about discrimination in BC. Section 10 explains when a landlord can and cannot discriminate against tenants.

Privacy Guidelines for Landlords and Tenants

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC publishes guidelines for landlords and tenants about collection, use, and disclosure of personal information.

The Tenant Survival Guide

TRAC’s Tenant Survival Guide is a plain language guide on everything you need to know while renting. You can read the Tenant Survival Guide online as a wikibook, PDF or e-book, or order a hardcopy version.

Residential Tenancy Branch Policy Guidelines

The Residential Tenancy Branch offers policy guidelines on important residential tenancy law topics in order to educate the public and inform decisions made by Arbitrators.

Residential Tenancy Agreement

This is the standard government tenancy agreement form. Landlords are not required to use it, but their custom form must contain all of the same important information. If a landlord's form does not meet the requirements, or if they have not prepared a form at all, you may want to suggest that they use this standard form.

Condition Inspection Report

This is the standard government form that tenants and landlords can use to inspect the rental unit at both the start and end of a tenancy. Landlords can use their own custom form, but it must contain all of the same important information found on this form.

Notice of Final Opportunity to Schedule an Inspection

Landlords must provide you with at least two opportunities to do a condition inspection at both the start and end of your tenancy. If you do not agree with their first option, they are required to serve you with this form to notify you that it is your last chance to participate. If you refuse to participate after being given this form, you may lose the right to the return of your security deposit.

Manufactured Home Site Tenancy Agreement

This is the standard government tenancy agreement form for manufactured home owners. Landlords are not required to use it, but their custom form must contain all of the same important information. If a landlord's form does not meet the requirements, or if they have not prepared a form at all, you may want to suggest that they use this standard form.

Tenant's Application for Dispute Resolution

This is the standard application that tenants can use to apply for dispute resolution.

Application to Waive Filing Fee

This is the form that low income tenants can use to ask the Residential Tenancy Branch to waive the dispute resolution filing fee.

Notice of Rent Increase – Residential Rental Units

This is the standard government form that landlords should be using in order to notify tenants of a rent increase.

Notice Terminating or Restricting a Service or Facility

This is the form that landlords can use to inform tenants of a rent reduction based on the termination or restriction of a non-essential service or facility.

Application for Review Consideration

This is the form you can use to ask the Residential Tenancy Branch to review your dispute resolution hearing decision. Reviews are only granted in exceptional circumstances, as the eligibility criteria are quite narrow.

Mutual Agreement to End a Tenancy

This is the form that tenants and landlords can use to legally end a tenancy when both parties are in agreement.

Other Standard Forms

The Residential Tenancy Branch offers standard forms to ensure that tenants and landlords are following proper legal procedures.

TRAC

The Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC) provides free legal information, education, and representation to tenants across BC. If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, TRAC's website is a great place to start. You can also call the Tenant Infoline, attend a legal education workshop, follow us on social media, or read our multilingual publications.

Residential Tenancy Branch

The Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) is the government department in charge of residential tenancy law in BC. The RTB provides dispute resolution hearings for when landlords and tenants are unable to resolve issues on their own. The RTB also provides information to landlords and tenants about the law through its website, multilingual publications and legal education workshops.

A Guide for Landlords and Tenants in British Columbia

This guide is published by the Residential Tenancy Branch, and provides a good overview of residential tenancy law basics for both tenants and landlords.

Service BC

Service BC offices are located across the province, and provide some Residential Tenancy Branch services. You can submit applications and evidence for dispute resolution at any Service BC office across the province.

Kijiji – Rental Property Listings

Kijiji is a popular online advertisement site that can be used to search for rental housing listings.

Craigslist – Rental Property Listings

Craigslist is a popular online advertisement site that can be used to search for rental housing listings.

Padmapper

Padmapper is a popular online advertisement site that can be used to search for rental housing listings.

Equifax 

Equifax is one of two credit reporting agencies in Canada (Transunion is the other one). It is a good idea to request a copy of your credit report from both agencies. When attending viewings, consider bringing your report to show your landlord that you have good credit and will pay your full rent on time.

Transunion 

Transunion is one of two credit reporting agencies in Canada (Equifax is the other one). It is a good idea to request a copy of your credit report from both agencies. When attending viewings, consider bringing your report to show your landlord that you have good credit and will pay your full rent on time.

BC Housing

BC Housing is a provincial agency that provides emergency and transitional housing, subsidized housing, and rental supplements for low-income and disabled tenants. Their website is a great place to start if you think you may qualify for rental assistance.

Rental Assistance Program (RAP)

RAP is run through BC Housing, and provides cash assistance to low-income, working families to help pay their rent. Eligible families must live in market housing (not subsidized housing).

Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER)

SAFER is a rent subsidy provided to low-income seniors, to help them pay their rent. Eligible seniors must live in market housing (not subsidized housing).

List of Rent Banks

BC Rent Banks

Several cities in BC have Rent Banks, which offer short-term loans to tenants who are working, but unable to pay their rent. Rent banks do not provide ongoing assistance, but can help with one-time emergencies.

PovNet Find an Advocate Map

Use this map to find a legal advocate near you. Legal Advocates can provide legal information and representation to low-income tenants, or tenants with disabilities. Each legal advocacy organization has its own eligibility criteria.

Community Legal Assistance Society

The Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) provides representation to low-income tenants who have filed for Judicial Review, which is an appeal of a Residential Tenancy Branch decision through the Supreme Court of BC. If you are thinking of filing for judicial review, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer at CLAS first.

UBC Law Students' Legal Advice Program

LSLAP may be able to provide legal advice or representation to low-income tenants.

University of Victoria Law Centre

The University of Victoria Law Centre provides advice, assistance, and representation to clients who cannot afford a lawyer. They also publish helpful guides on Small Claims court.

Access Pro Bono

Access Pro Bono provides free legal advice and representation to low-income tenants in certain areas of law.

Lawyer Referral Service

The Lawyer Referral Service can connect you to a lawyer for a 30 minute consultation for $25.

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC

The OIPC is the government agency in charge of privacy laws in BC. If you believe that a landlord has violated your right to privacy, you can file a complaint with the OIPC. The OIPC can investigate complaints and issue fines.

BC Human Rights Tribunal

If you believe that a landlord has discriminated against you, you can file a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

BC Human Rights Clinic

The BC Human Rights Clinic provides free legal advice and representation at the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

Credit Counselling Society

The Credit Counselling Society is a non-profit organization that can help you deal with debt. If you have a low credit rating because of difficulties paying off debt, you may want to call the Credit Counselling Society for advice.

Justice Education Society

Justice Education Society provides innovative self-help and online tools that improve access to BC’s justice system.

Clicklaw

Clicklaw is an online tool to help you find legal publications on various areas of law.

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