Protection Act for Tenants & Landlords in BC
The Personal Information
Protection Act (PIPA) governs the collection, use and disclosure of
What are a Landlordís
responsibilities under PIPA?
PIPA governs how Landlords
collect, use and disclose personal information of their Tenants.
Generally, this means obtaining a Tenantís consent and having a reasonable
purpose for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.
Landlords must notify Tenants
of their purpose for the collection of personal information. A Landlord
must also protect Tenant information in the Landlordís custody or control
by adopting safeguards to prevent unauthorized access, use, disclosure,
loss, destruction, copying or modification.
A Landlord must respond to a
Tenantís request for access to their personal information by providing the
Tenant with copies of records in the Landlordís possession or control that
contain the Tenantís personal information. Upon request, a Landlord must
also tell the Tenant how their personal information has been used and to
whom it has been disclosed. However, the Landlord must not disclose
someone elseís personal information to the Tenant. Landlords are also
required to familiarize themselves with PIPA and to adopt policies and
procedures to ensure their compliance to it.
What is personal information?
PIPA defines personal
information as "information about an identifiable individual and includes
employee personal information Ö". This can mean any number of things such
as a name, date of birth, phone number, address, height, weight, eye
colour, social insurance number (SIN), driverís license number, banking
information, income, photograph, etc.
Can a Landlord disclose
one Tenantís personal information to another Tenant without consent?
No. Generally PIPA
requires that Landlords obtain the consent of their Tenants before
disclosing personal information to other Tenants. There may be instances,
such as in a serious emergency, where this would be permissible. Landlords
should make every effort to protect the privacy of their tenants and
prevent disclosure of their personal information.
Can a Landlord ask for a
Tenantís roommateís personal information?
Although only the Tenant on
the tenancy agreement is responsible for payment of rent and damages, it
is reasonable for a Landlord to document the names of people living on
their property, but it is not necessary for each roommate to provide their
banking information or other personal information.
Can a Landlord ask to see a
Yes. Typically, a Landlordís
purpose for requesting to examine identification is simply to verify a
Tenantís identity when entering into a rental or tenancy agreement and
such a requirement is reasonable. Given that a Landlord must be able to
properly identify a Tenant in the event that damage is caused to the
property, an emergency occurs, or the Tenant does not honour the lease, it
may be reasonable to authenticate a Tenantís identity.
Can a Landlord ask for a
Tenantís pay-slip or T4?
If a Landlord has legitimate
concerns about a Tenantís ability to make regular payment of rent, then it
may be reasonable for the Landlord to request proof of financial capacity
from the Tenant. A Tenant should be able to provide one of any number of
documents that reasonably confirm income, such as a letter from the
Tenantís employer. Tenants may consider removing information from the form
that the Landlord does not require, such as their social insurance number.
In cases where subsidized-housing rent payments are based on income, it is
not unreasonable for a Landlord to request sufficiently detailed proof of
income and expenses, but the Landlord should only collect personal
information that is necessary.
Can a Landlord request a
credit report from a Tenant?
A Landlord must have a
reasonable purpose for doing so and communicate that to the Tenant. If the
Landlord has concerns about non-payment of rent and therefore must verify
an applicantís credit history, this may be a reasonable practice. Pursuant
to both the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and PIPA, a
landlord must obtain the Tenantís consent before ordering a credit report.
Can a Landlord request a
tenantís credit card number?
A Landlord cannot request a
Tenantís credit card information as a condition of renting a property.
Obviously if the parties agree to process rent payments by credit card, a
Tenant would consent and supply his or her credit card number to the
Can a Landlord use a
Tenantís personal information to collect an unpaid debt?
Yes, once a Tenantís
account is in arrears, PIPA permits the Landlordís use of personal
information without consent for the purposes of collecting a debt,
including unpaid rent, fees and utilities, costs to repair damage caused
by the tenant or monies ordered to be paid by the Tenant by a dispute
resolution officer. The Landlord must still use the information only to
the extent that is reasonable.
Can a Landlord request to
check a tenantís criminal record?
No, a Landlord cannot as a
condition of renting or providing any service to a Tenant, ask for consent
to collect personal information beyond what is necessary to provide
tenancy or that service. Requiring a criminal records check is not