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What Tenants and Landlords Need to Know About Changes to B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Act

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With respect to current changes to the Residential Tenancy Act (the “Act”), there have been five updates to the legislation, effective since May 17, 2018.

First, landlords must provide 4 months’ notice to end tenancy for demolition, renovation or repair, or conversion. Tenants will now have 30 days to dispute the notice.

Previously, landlords were required to give 2 months’ notice and tenants had 15 days to dispute. This change provides tenants with greater flexibility in terms of moving.

Second, a landlord or purchaser if applicable must compensate a tenant 12 month’s rent (unless excused by an arbitrator in extenuating circumstances) if a landlord or purchaser ends a tenancy under section 49 (landlord use) and they do not: (a) take steps to accomplish the state purpose for ending the tenancy under section 49 within a reasonable period after the effective date of the notice; or (b) use the rental unit for that stated purpose for at least 6 months beginning within a reasonable period after the effective date of the notice.

An example of an “extenuating circumstance” is a landlord who ended a tenancy to renovate or repair a rental unit, and the rental unit was accidently destroyed by fire.

Third, a tenant has a right of first refusal to enter into a new tenancy agreement at a rent determined by the landlord if the landlord ends their tenancy to renovate or repair the rental unit. This right to first refusal applies only to a rental unit in a residential property containing 5 or more units.

Fourth, a landlord must compensate a tenant 12 months’ rent if the tenant exercises a right of first refusal and the landlord does not give the tenant: (a) 45 day notice of availability and (b) a tenancy agreement to sign.

Lastly, if a landlord is ending a tenancy on behalf of a purchaser, the notice must contain the purchaser’s name and address.

Keep in mind that if you give a two month notice to end tenancy for demolition, renovation or conversion on May 17, 2018, it is not valid. This is because according to the Interpretation Act, amendments come into force at the beginning of the day of commencement. A two-month notice can no longer be used to end tenancy for demolition, renovation or conversion on or after May 17, 2018.

Questions About British Columbia’s Laws?

Do you have any questions for the team at Spraggs? Leave a comment below — we’d love to hear from you. And, as always, if you have any questions about ICBC, motor vehicle collisions or personal injury, be sure to contact one of our ICBC lawyers in Vancouver.