2 June 2018
Changes to the B.C. Residential Tenancy Act Come into Effect
Landlords and tenants should make note of several significant changes to the Residential Tenancy Act which went into effect on May 17, 2018. Landlords who don’t follow the new rules could be liable to pay tenants up to 12 months’ rent.
If a landlord wishes to end a tenancy to permit the landlord or a close family member of the landlord to occupy a rental unit, then the landlord must (a) take steps to accomplish the stated purpose for ending the tenancy within a reasonable period and (b) ensure that the rental unit is actually used for the stated purpose for at least six months. If the landlord fails to do either, then the landlord must pay the tenant 12 months’ rent, unless excused by an arbitrator in extenuating circumstances. The same rules apply to a purchaser of a rental unit who wishes to end a tenancy.
If a landlord wishes to end a tenancy for demolition, renovation, repair, or conversion of a rental unit, the landlord must provide four months’ notice to the tenant. The previous notice period was two months. The tenant has 30 days to dispute the notice. A landlord’s obligation to pay a tenant one months’ rent as compensation in such circumstances remains unchanged.
If a landlord ends a tenancy to renovate or repair a rental unit, then the tenant has a right of first refusal to enter into a new tenancy agreement for the unit at a rent determined by the landlord. If the tenant exercises the right of first refusal and the landlord doesn’t provide the tenant with a 45 day “notice of availability” and a tenancy agreement to sign, then the landlord must pay the tenant 12 months’ rent as compensation, unless excused by an arbitrator in extenuating circumstances.
For legal advice regarding recent changes to the Residential Tenancy Act, or other real estate matters, please contact one of Watson Goepel LLP’s Real Estate lawyers.