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Opinion: Burnaby senior's landlord denied there was a rent freeze

Here's how to handle a misinformed landlord
A for rent sign. (via Contributed)

My recent column about how a landlord has been trying to hike the rent of a Burnaby senior – who is 89 years old – has brought in many responses.

The letters have been from other renters who say their landlords are trying to raise their rents, despite the B.C. government extending the freeze until July 2021.

It seems a few landlords don’t understand or keep up to date on the rules, or they are trying to take advantage of renters who might not know their rights.

One such story is from Neil O, who is 79 and had to set his landlord straight about the rules.

Neil offers this advice on how to handle the situation in this letter:

“Your advice to the 89-year-old senior was correct.

I'm 79 but well aware of the Residential Tenancy Act rules. I had a rent increase notice effective Jan. 1, 2021 issued before the rent freeze was extended to July 10, 2020.

I gave her the January 2020 rent check, which was the same amount that I had been paying. Attached to the check was the screenshot taken from a B.C. government page about the rent freeze. She challenged me on this. I then sent her this link (see below) and she has accepted that the rent can't change until July 10, 2020.

The senior you have been kind enough to help has more going on. Right now, he is not facing any rent increase as both the amount of the rent increase, timing of the notice, and the form of the rent increase is invalid.

1) Rent increases have to be on a prescribed Residential Tenancy Act form to be valid.

2) The increase is limited to 1.4% effective July 10, 2021.

3) Delivered at least three months ahead of the rent increase.

What should he do?

1. Pay the January 2021 rent using the amount he was paying and continue paying the current rent on time. Most important is to not default on the rent. He is dealing with a nasty landlord and he doesn't want to give him any chance to terminate the tenancy

2. Send the landlord a copy of the screenshot below link below.

The landlord has to issue a valid rent increase notice at 1.4% increase which will not be effective until July 10, 2021

When he does get a valid rent increase notice he must check that the increase does not exceed 1.4%.

Caution: He should not issue post-dated rent checks to the landlord. It's too risky. Let's say he is moved unexpectedly to a nursing home permanently. Depending on the time he likely would have to pay the next month's rent.

You don't want a nasty landlord to be holding post-dated check as he can find all kinds of invalid reasons to cash them. It's costly ($30 each) and time-consuming to put stop payments on post-dated checks.

You are welcome to pass my name and contact to the elderly senior or anyone else that might be helping him. Hopefully, someone from the tenancy branch has seen your article has stepped in and helped him.

Please go to for more information.

Neil O, Burnaby”

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.