What to expect with Residential Tenancy Agreements

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A residential tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract between the owner of a property (the “landlord”) and a person or company wishing to occupy the property (the “tenant”) under which the landlord grants to the tenant the right to occupy the property for use as a residence.

The right of occupation does not have to be exclusive, which means that the tenant may have the right to share the property with others.

A residential tenancy agreement is for tenants renting houses, townhouses, units and similar properties. It can be used for a furnished property or unfurnished property.

At the commencement of a residential tenancy:

  • a residential tenancy agreement should be prepared;
  • if the property is an apartment, the landlord must also give to the tenant a copy of the apartment by-laws for the strata in which the property is located, which should be available from the apartment manager;
  • the landlord and the tenant should each complete a condition report for the property and keep a copy for their records. A condition report is a record of the condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy and may be used as evidence of the state of repair or general condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy if there is later a dispute between the landlord and tenant; and
  • the tenant should pay rent in advance and a bond (if any) to the landlord.

At the end of the initial fixed term (e.g. 6 months or 12 months), the landlord and tenant may enter into a further agreement for a further fixed term; the tenancy may continue as a periodic agreement on the same terms and conditions as the existing agreement; or the tenancy may be terminated by either party.

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