To legally enter a rental unit, a landlord must either obtain the tenant’s permission, or provide written notice at least 24 hours – but not more than 30 days – before entering. In addition, the notice must state:
- the date of entry;
- the time of entry (between 8am and 9pm); and
- a reasonable reason for entry, such as making repairs or conducting a monthly inspection.
If your landlord follows the law and provides proper notice in writing, they are allowed to enter your rental unit at the stated time, regardless of whether you will be home. If you are concerned about your landlord being in your unit alone, or you are not comfortable with seeing them at that time, try asking a neighbour, friend, or family member to be there on your behalf.
If your landlord enters your rental unit illegally, explain to them in writing that they are required to give proper written notice in the future. You can also apply for dispute resolution through the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) to request any of the following orders – especially if your landlord continues to enter illegally:
- an order that your landlord follow the law;
- an order giving you permission to change the locks and keep the only key;
- an order that sets conditions on when your landlord is allowed to enter; and
- an order that your landlord pay you monetary compensation.
There are some exceptions to the rules about landlord entry. A landlord can enter a rental unit without obtaining the tenant’s permission or providing proper notice in writing in the following situations:
- there is an emergency and the landlord’s entry is necessary to protect life or property;
- the landlord has obtained an order from the RTB granting them permission to enter;
- the landlord or an agent of the landlord needs to provide housekeeping services in accordance with the tenancy agreement; and
- the tenant has “abandoned” the rental property according to the Residential Tenancy Regulation.