If you or one of your roommates moved into a shared house, but did not sign a tenancy agreement, you are likely not protected by tenancy laws.
It is in your best interest to ask your landlord to update a tenancy agreement to add new roommates whenever possible.
Unfortunately your landlord is not obligated to agree to add someone to your tenancy agreement. They might also suggest creating an entirely new tenancy agreement instead of amending the existing one. Beware of this option - before agreeing to a whole new tenancy agreement, make sure it’s not a trick to jack up the rent or change other terms.
In BC a tenancy agreement can only be updated by mutual consent between the landlord and the tenant. This means that if there is disagreement about adding a new person to the agreement, you might end up in a stalemate. This also means that if the original tenants who signed the agreement move out, other roommates who are not on the lease are not protected.
Finally, watch out for terms in your tenancy agreement that might limit the number of occupants, or terms that raise the rent if someone else moves in. These terms are legal, but only if they were agreed to when you started your tenancy.
- Learn More about Roommates on TRAC's website
- Learn more about updating a tenancy agreement/lease on TRAC's website
- Keep Your Landlord In Check Handbook