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4.2 Entering into a Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement is a legal contract between you and the landlord that outlines the terms and conditions for the rental property.  Most of the time, when we talk about a tenancy agreement, we are referring to a written document, but a tenancy agreement can also be verbal.

Although verbal tenancy agreements are covered by the Residential Tenancy Act, we do not recommend them.  It is always best to sign a written agreement with your landlord in order to avoid future problems.  

It is important that you understand when you have legally entered into a tenancy agreement.  It may be sooner than you think.

During your housing search, it may be tempting to tell a landlord that you will take a place – even though you are not 100% confident.  You may think that it is smart to have a back-up place secured while you try to find a better one, but this can be a risky strategy.  If you change your mind and tell the landlord that you no longer want the place, it may be too late.  Legally speaking, your verbal commitment to the landlord may be considered a contract.  If the landlord has evidence – for example, a witness – that you verbally agreed to rent the place, they may try to go after you for money for backing out of your commitment.