2.5 Problems Paying Rent
If you do not pay your full rent on time, your landlord may issue you a 10 Day Eviction Notice for Non-Payment of Rent as early as the next day. The good news is that this notice will be cancelled if you pay your full rent within five days of receiving the notice. The bad news is that, if you do this too often, your landlord may give you a One Month Eviction Notice for repeated late payment of rent. Evictions are discussed in greater detail later in this course.
You should also see what your tenancy agreement says about fees for late rent. Your landlord may be able to charge you a non-refundable fee of up to $25 for late rent, but only if your tenancy agreement clearly states that rule.
Communicate with your landlord as soon as possible. If you are unable to pay your rent on time due to an unexpected situation, your landlord may agree to let you pay your rent late. If your landlord does agree, make sure to get their permission in writing.
You can also try requesting a short term loan from a friend, family member, or one of BC’s Rent Banks (Vancouver, Surrey, Kamloops). If this is not possible, there may be ways to prioritize your rental payment. Telephone or internet providers are unlikely to shut off your service for one late payment; however, your landlord can quickly evict you for not paying your full rent on time. As a result, it may be best to prioritize your rent over other bills.
If you are on income assistance and facing an unexpected emergency, you may want to speak to a legal advocate in your community about applying for a crisis supplement through the provincial government.
If you are unable to reach your landlord, never assume that you can avoid paying rent. Keep that money in a safe place and don’t spend it! Continue trying to contact your landlord, and keep a written record of all of your attempts. If you think that your rental building may have been sold or taken over by the bank, or that your landlord may have died, you still have a responsibility to make attempts to contact the new landlord.
On the next page there is an activity to help you understand your rights and responsibilities around payment of rent. Paying rent is one of your most important responsibilities as a tenant, so take a moment to complete this activity and fill in the flow chart.