"My landlord didn't do _____, can I stop paying rent?"
Updated: Mar 23
In the world of tenancy law, there is a common misconception that tenants can simply stop paying rent if their landlords do not comply with their obligations under the Residential Tenancy Act ("RTA"). You may think that it's only tenants that hold this belief, but we have seen an equal number of landlords believe the same to be true. This could not be further from the truth, unfortunately.
As a rule of thumb, tenants are almost always expected to pay their rent according to their tenancy agreement and should only be withholding rent from their landlord if they have received legal advice - ideally in writing. Why "almost" always, you may ask? Because the RTA does allow you to withhold rent in very specific circumstances limited to the following:
the tenant has an arbitrator's decision allowing a rent deduction;
the landlord illegally increased the rent;
the landlord has overcharged for a security or pet damage deposit;
the landlord refuses the tenant's written request for reimbursement of emergency repairs; or,
the tenant has the landlord's written permission allowing a rent reduction.
But even if you believe that your circumstances permit you to withhold rent from your landlord, it is always safer to obtain legal advice first as you may otherwise risk a situation where your landlord may try to evict you.
If you are in a situation where you believe that you can withhold rent, get in touch with us and we can advise you further on your situation.