This is a complicated question without a clear answer. If you rent a room from someone you live with, you may have entered into a tenant-landlord relationship and be protected by the Residential Tenancy Act. That being said, TRAC does not recommend this type of roommate setup, as you may also be considered an “occupant” without any rights under the Residential Tenancy Act. If you are searching for rental housing, try to avoid renting from other tenants. It is always safest to enter into an agreement as a co-tenant or tenant in common with the landlord.
If you already rent a room from a tenant, you can try speaking to their landlord about signing a tenancy agreement as a co-tenant or tenant in common. If this isn’t possible, then you and the tenant you pay rent to could consider signing a rental contract that outlines some of the rules that you both agree to follow. This will offer you some legal protection, even if you aren’t covered by the Residential Tenancy Act and can’t enforce your contract through the Residential Tenancy Branch. If you run into a legal dispute with the tenant you pay rent to, you may need to speak to a lawyer about how to resolve the problem.
© 2017 Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre & Justice Education Society