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New renoviction processes will protect tenants

Landlords must apply to RTB with supporting documents before issuing renoviction notices
Pinecrest Townhomes in Prince Rupert where more than 30 units of tenants received legal renoviction notices in Feb. 2020. As of July 3, 2021, the units are not ready for move-in and many appear to have not had renovations started. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Tenants have added protection against illegal ‘renovictions’ by landlords as of July 1st and changes to legislation will provide more security against illegal evictions, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced.

Changes made to the renoviction process and the legislation encompassing the rules address the Residential Housing Task Force’s number one recommendation of shifting the responsibility to the Landlord to apply for pre-approval prior to evicting a tenant on the grounds of renovations.

Landlords will need to have all of the required permits, approvals and must prove the work is necessary with the only way to complete it by ending the tenancy.

Tenants will be able to respond to the landlord’s application in a dispute resolution hearing and can provide evidence to contradict the landlord’s proposal.

“The changes will eliminate most renovictions. Landlords will only be able to end a tenancy in situations where that is the only way to do the necessary repairs or upgrades. In those rare cases, tenants will now have a full four months’ notice after the RTB approves the application - no longer having to spend that time fighting the eviction,” the ministry media statement issued on July 1, reads.

“Previously, some landlords issued notices to end tenancy for renovations when the work did not require units to be vacant,” the release stated. “… These changes will give the RTB oversight over any eviction notice for renovations, which will help stop illegal renovictions from happening.”

Additionally, an amendment will make it easier for tenants to receive compensation. Tenants will be compensated for bad-faith evictions where the landlord does not follow through on the stated purpose for ending the tenancy.

“For example, a landlord can end a tenancy because they or a family member will move into the unit. Before, if the landlord failed to follow through on that plan and a tenant sought compensation from their landlord, the burden was on the tenant to prove it. The amendment shifts the onus to the landlord to prove they have used the property for the stated purpose of ending the tenancy.”

Should a landlord make repairs or improvements to a rental unit or building and want to apply a modest rent increase to pay for them, they must now apply to the RTB for approval.

“This fulfils a recommendation of the Rental Housing Task Force, along with capping rent to inflation to keep rent more affordable while ensuring rental homes are maintained and improved.”

Additional rent increases for capital expenditures were also amended as well rent caps of no more than three per cent were included pertaining to capital repairs and expenditure.

Applications for the new processes will start to be accepted on July 5.

K-J Millar | Journalist
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