A decision by the British Columbia Residential Tenancy Branch confirms that landlords there have an “absolute” right to inspect their rental properties as often as once per month.
The decision comes at the one year anniversary of the RCMP’s Marihuana Grow Initiative, a multi-faceted program designed to deter drug crimes, including crime in rental properties. Under the Initiative, RCMP created a database listing properties where grow ops have been found so that the information is easily accessible to new tenants or buyers.
The RCMP previously released a statement in conjunction with the Initiative advising landlords to carefully screen tenants, and to perform frequent property inspections.
Landlords, however, are often met with resistance from tenants over routine inspections.
In the B.C. case, the tenant asked for dispute resolution claiming that the routine inspections were intrusive, and violated her right to quiet enjoyment under the lease agreement. She accused the landlord of harassment and asked for over $22,000 in damages. She also requested an order curbing the frequency and duration of inspections and prohibiting photographs of the unit.
The landlord testified that the rental property was slated to become her retirement home, so she was particularly concerned about damage or neglect to the property.
Referring to sections of B.C’s Residential Tenancy Act, tribunal members confirmed that a landlord has a statutory right to inspect a rental unit, as often as once a month. One member writes, “As long as the landlord gives proper notice, this right is absolute. In fact, if proper notice is given, a landlord may inspect a rental unit whether the tenant is present or not.”
Further, the decision states that a landlord is not prohibited from taking photographs during the inspection, especially in a case where damage may be an issue.
In this case, the relationship between the landlord and tenant had grown contentious, with the tenants bringing requests for dispute resolution at least five times in the past. The landlord, too, has filed for dispute resolution, and has been advised by family members to have a witness present during inspections.
The tribunal member makes mention that the poor relationship between the parties “escalates what should be routine events into conflict.”
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.