Most rental housing in BC is protected by the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). Tenants most commonly live in apartment buildings or rented houses, including secondary suites, but the RTA can also apply to other types of housing. Manufactured home parks, hotels, illegal suites, strata properties, and subsidized housing are all covered, to varying degrees, by the RTA.
Manufactured Home Park Tenancies
Manufactured home park tenancies, also known as mobile home tenancies, are sometimes covered by the RTA. If you own a mobile home and rent the land it sits on, your tenancy falls under the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act (MHPTA). However, if you rent both the mobile home and the land it sits on, your tenancy falls under the RTA. Regardless of whether you are protected by the RTA or MHPTA, you have the right to access the RTB’s resources and services, including dispute resolution.
Hotels can be covered by the RTA, if a tenancy has been established and the property is the tenant’s primary and permanent home. You have probably heard of a specific type of hotel known as a Single Room Occupancy, or “SRO”. These are commonly found in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and provide short-term or long-term housing to low-income tenants. Like standard hotels, SROs are covered by the RTA, if there is a tenancy agreement in place and the property is the tenant’s primary and permanent home.
A secondary suite can be a basement suite, laneway house, or another self-contained unit on the same property as a residential house. If a secondary suite does not comply with City zoning and bylaw requirements, or has not been registered with the City in which it is located, it may be considered an “illegal suite”. The most important thing to know about illegal suites is that, despite being illegal from a municipal standpoint, they are still covered by the provincial RTA.
In strata properties, owners own individual units – typically condos or townhomes – but share ownership of the common space. When you rent a strata property from an owner, you are covered by both the RTA and Strata Property Act. In addition, all strata buildings have a set of bylaws and rules that owners and tenants must follow. When entering into a tenancy, your landlord should have you sign a “Form K”, which confirms that you have been notified of the current bylaws and rules.
The term “subsidized housing” generally applies to any housing where the government provides monetary assistance to lower the rent. Unless you are a member of a housing cooperative, subsidized housing is generally covered by the RTA. The most common types of subsidized housing include:
- public housing: a government department, BC Housing, manages rental units for low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities.
- non-profit housing: non-profit organizations receive government money to manage subsidized rental units for tenants throughout the province.
- market housing subsidized by rental supplements:
- TRAC Webpage – Am I Covered By the Law?
- Residential Tenancy Regulation Section 2 – Exemptions from the Act
- Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act
- RTB Guide for Manufactured Home Park Landlords & Tenants in B.C.
- Strata Property Act
- Strata Property Regulation – Form K
- RTB Policy Guideline 27 – Jurisdiction
- Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER)
- Rental Assistance Program (RAP)