IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to COVID-19, the rent increase freeze has been extended to December 31, 2021. If your landlord has given you a rent increase notice with an effective date after March 30, 2020 and before January 1, 202, the notice is considered canceled.
2.7 Rent Increases
When you first move into a rental unit, your rent is the amount that you and your landlord agreed to in your tenancy agreement. From that point on, your landlord can only raise your rent by the cost of inflation once every 12 months. For the current allowable rent increase percentage, see the Residential Tenancy Branch website. To raise your rent, your landlord must notify you ahead of time by providing you with a Notice of Rent Increase form three full months before the rent increase takes effect.
For example, if you are given a Notice of Rent Increase on April 5th, the three full months that count towards the notice are May, June and July, and the rent increase will take effect on August 1st (assuming you pay rent on the first of the month).
A landlord does have the right to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for permission to increase rent above the allowable percentage. However, additional rent increases are not common and the Residential Tenancy Branch will only allow them in special circumstances.
If a new person moves into your rental unit, your landlord can only raise the rent if your tenancy agreement clearly states that they are allowed to raise rent for additional occupants, and it specifies how much the rent increases for additional occupants. If your tenancy agreement does not include those terms, your landlord cannot raise your rent when an extra person moves in.
You never have to agree to an illegal rent increase, and your landlord should never bully you into accepting one. If your landlord tries to raise your rent illegally, notify them in writing that this is against the law. See TRAC’s template letter, Response to Illegal Rent Increase.
If your landlord makes a mistake by not giving you three full months’ notice, you should begin paying the increased rent on the date the notice is supposed to take effect. As always, you should explain your actions in writing in order to avoid any misunderstandings.
Yes, some subsidized rental units where the rent is related to the tenant’s income may be exempt from the rent increase rules. If you live in a subsidized rental unit you should speak to your housing provider to learn about the rent increase rules that apply to you. For more information, you can also refer to Section 2 of the Residential Tenancy Regulation.
Now that you’ve learned about rent increases, it's time to test your math skills. On the next page there is an activity that asks you to calculate rent increases based on this year's allowable rent increase percentage.