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2.2 What the Residential Tenancy Act Covers

When renting a home, you want to make sure you are covered by BC’s Residential Tenancy Act.  This is the law that the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC) and Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) can help you with.  If you are covered by the Residential Tenancy Act, you will be protected in some very important ways.  If you are not covered by the Residential Tenancy Act, you will still have some rights under BC law, but these rights will be far less clear and harder to enforce.

The good news is that most rental accommodation in BC is covered by the Residential Tenancy Act. But before discussing those types of housing, let’s take a look at living arrangements that are NOT covered by the Residential Tenancy Act:

  • Accommodation where the tenant shares a bathroom or kitchen with the owner of the property
  • Accommodation provided to a student by their school
  • Accommodation included with property occupied primarily for business purposes and rented under a single agreement
  • Vacation or travel accommodation
  • Emergency shelters and transitional housing
  • Accommodation in care, rehabilitation or psychiatric facilities
  • Correctional institutions
  • Rental agreements with terms longer than 20 years
  • Accommodation rented by a housing cooperative (or “co-op”) to a member of the cooperative

If your living situation is not covered by the RTA, you will not be able to resolve disputes through the Residential Tenancy Branch. Instead, you may need to use Small Claims Court, Supreme Court, or independent mediation services, such as Mediate BC.  You may also need to seek assistance from a legal advocate or lawyer.