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Home > Information For Tenants > Aboriginal: Reserve Land 

Aboriginal: Reserve Land

All provisions of the Residential Tenancy Act are fully applicable to you and your landlord, irrespective of whether or not either of you is Aboriginal, if:

  • you do not live on band land,
  • you live off-reserve on land that is rented by a band, or
  • you live on Treaty Settlement Land

Treaty Settlement Land

Treaty Settlement Land is land where the province has granted full legal ownership to a particular First Nation by treaty.  Where reserve land has been converted to settlement land, the Residential Tenancy Act is applicable.  To date, all reserves on Nisga’a and Tsawwassen land are now Treaty Settlement Lands.  The provincial government is also in various stages of treaty negotiations with other First Nations.  Further information can be found here.

Renting on Reserve Land

If you live on reserve land, the Residential Tenancy Act does not, for the most part, apply to you.  Only the federal parliament has jurisdiction over “Indians and lands reserved for the Indians”; thus, provincial legislation related to land use on reserves does not apply. The only instance where the Residential Tenancy Act may apply is where a dispute does not relate to the “use or occupation” of reserve land. This could, for example, be the case when a landlord makes a strictly monetary claim for rent payments in arrears. 

Please refer to the following documents for further information:

On reserve land where the Residential Tenancy Act does not apply, the terms of your rental contract, particular band policies, and the common law govern the terms of your tenancy.  If you have a dispute with your landlord on reserve land, your first step should be to find out what policies and processes your local band has in place for resolving housing disputes.  Contact your local band council for details on these policies.

A band tribunal may hear and make a decision regarding a housing dispute.  In this case, it is worth noting that all band tribunals have a duty of administrative fairness which obligates them to follow fair decision-making processes.  If you feel a decision in your dispute has not been reached fairly, it may be possible to appeal the decision to the Federal Court.  This must be done within 30 days of the tribunal decision.

If, however, the governing policies of your managing band do not cover your dispute, then your case may be tried at the B.C. Supreme Court.  Here, the common law, which is law developed in the court system and based on precedent decisions, will apply.  Unless your rental contract stipulates otherwise, your common law rights include the right to reasonable notice for the termination of a tenancy (which is at least one month for a month-to-month tenancy) and the right to quiet enjoyment of your residence without interference from your landlord.  If you are sure that you have a common law claim, you may wish to seek the assistance of a lawyer:

Although the law regarding on-reserve tenancies is complicated, in all cases you have the right to be treated fairly as a tenant.  If you need assistance in preparing a claim, contact the TRAC Infoline (1-800-665-1185 or 604-255-0546) for information or referral to a lawyer.

Living in a Manufactured Home Park on Reserve Land

The criteria mentioned above for determining whether the Residential Tenancy Act is applicable to housing rentals also governs whether the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act is applicable.  For information on which particular provisions may not apply, please refer to the links in the previous section.

Aboriginal Social Housing

The Residential Tenancy Act is applicable to tenants of Aboriginal social housing as long as the housing units are not on reserve land.

For instance, all buildings operated by the Vancouver Native Housing Society, as well as most residences managed by member societies of the Aboriginal Housing Management Association, are not on reserve land and, therefore, fall under the jurisdiction of the Residential Tenancy Act.

For more information on Aboriginal social housing see the links below:



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