Renter Office news

April 2022


  • Business licences for Vancouver rentals
  • In support of refugees
  • Sharpening up tenancy knowledge and confidence
  • Contact the Renter Enquiry Line (REL)

Welcome to the April edition of the Renter Office newsletter.

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Business licences for Vancouver rentals

Cherry blossoms near home

Did you know? Whether it is a rented apartment unit, basement suite, laneway house, condo, duplex or another type of dwelling unit, the landlord is required to obtain a rental business licence from the City for every unit they rent out in Vancouver.

Licences help ensure that rentals are safe, meet land-use requirements, protect vulnerable populations, and mitigate potential noise or nuisance.

When a rental has a business licence, prospective renters can be more confident that the property owner is mindful and has agreed to comply with applicable City by-laws. Maintenance, health, or safety issues brought to the City�s attention could result in business licence implications.


In support of refugees

Family with umbrellas

Commemorated every year on April 4, Refugee Rights Day recognizes the ongoing advances and protection of refugee rights in Canada. On April 4, 1985, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right of refugee claimants in Canada to life, liberty and security.

As part of the City�s 2022 Renter Services Grants, Rainbow Refugee Society�s Queer Housing Information and Navigation for Newcomers Timely (Q-HINNT) program is receiving support to address the urgent need for sexually diverse and gender diverse newcomers to be housed in safe, affordable, accessible and adequate housing.

Q-HINNT connects 2SLGBTQIA+ newcomers and refugees with individual supports and housing navigation services to improve their well-being in Vancouver.


Sharpening up tenancy knowledge and confidence

Two young individuals with a dog sitting in an empty room

RentSmart Education and Support Society provides a number of online, in-person, and hybrid courses designed to help tenants succeed in their tenancies.

Guided by facilitators, the sessions help empower tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities, communicate effectively with landlords, neighbours and roommates, budget to maintain their housing, and understand how to look after their homes.

In addition, RentSmart offers a free online, self-guided version of the RentSmart Certificate course. After completing six modules, participants will receive a certificate recognized as an asset by many housing providers.

To learn more about RentSmart, visit



Contact the Renter Enquiry Line (REL)

The Renter Office�s Renter Enquiry Line (email and phone) connects Vancouver renters to appropriate City departments for information on questions related to the City�s policies or programs, such as assisting renters in looking up City permits for specific buildings. The REL also refers renters to non-profit community resources for tenancy issues covered by the Residential Tenancy Act.

We will do our best to get back to you within five business days.

We offer phone services in English, Mandarin and Cantonese and hope to offer additional languages in the future. If you would like assistance in your chosen language, phone 3-1-1 for assistance and they will direct you to the appropriate staff for language support.



At-a-glance: Community renter services and resources

The Renter Office frequently refers renters to non-profit community organizations for tenancy support, ranging from information on residential tenancy rights, legal advice or representation on tenancy issues such as evictions, to need-based financial assistance for rental housing.

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City of Vancouver - 453 West 12th Avenue - Vancouver - BC - V5Y 1V4