The Government of British Columbia plans to strengthen the Residential Tenancy Act and Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act to better protect both renters and tenants of manufactured home parks.
“Tenants need stronger protections when a landlord is choosing to renovate or sell their property,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “By improving protections, renters, as well as tenants of manufactured home parks, will have better security in these difficult situations.”
If approved by the legislature, changes introduced today to the Residential Tenancy Act will further support the government’s commitment to provide stronger protections for tenants facing eviction as the result of renovation or demolition by:
- providing tenants with more time to find alternate housing if their landlord ends a tenancy to demolish or renovate a unit and requires the unit to be vacant;
- providing tenants with more time to dispute a notice to end a tenancy for demolition, conversion or renovation;
- increasing the amount of compensation a landlord must pay to a former tenant if they end a tenancy for renovation/demolition and then do not follow through on their plans. This compensation would also apply in situations where the landlord used a vacate clause because they had plans to move back in, but then re-rented the unit to someone else; and
- including a first right-of-refusal for tenants in multi-unit buildings who are evicted because of renovation or repair. The requirement to offer units to the original tenant will also help address improper uses of this provision by allowing the tenant to confirm that the renovations did occur.
“These changes are part of the B.C. government’s 30-point plan for a more secure and affordable housing market, and will help improve the situation for renters,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End and chair of the Province’s new Rental Housing Task Force. “The task force will be asking the public to share their ideas for further improvements to the law to make rental housing more secure and affordable for renters, and more attractive to provide for landlords. We expect to make recommendations to the provincial government in fall 2018.”
The Province is also strengthening laws around manufactured home parks, giving people living in these parks more support and better compensation if they are forced to move. The proposed amendments to the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act will assist displaced tenants to move their home to another site, if possible, and compensate them for the loss of their home if they are unable to move it.
The proposed changes to the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act include:
- ensuring the effective date of a 12-month notice to end tenancy is the same for all tenancy agreements under the act;
- increasing the amount of compensation landlords pay tenants who have been given a notice to end tenancy, in order to convert a park;
- increasing the amount of compensation a landlord owes a former tenant if the landlord gave notice, but did not do the conversion;
- providing additional compensation if a manufactured home cannot be relocated; and
- clarifying that a tenant, who is unable to relocate their manufactured home, is not responsible for disposal costs of the home.
Andrew Sakomoto, executive director, Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC) —
“Today’s Residential Tenancy Act amendments are a step in the right direction — particularly the decision to increase the penalty against landlords who abuse vacate clauses and ‘landlord’s use’ eviction notices. TRAC is hopeful that today’s announcement is an interim measure, and that more substantial changes are planned for the future. For example, we encourage the provincial government to consider increasing compensation for tenants being displaced at no fault of their own by renovations or demolitions. TRAC looks forward to working with the new Rental Housing Task Force in order to build on the positives from today and further strengthen the legal protection of tenants across B.C.”
David Hutniak, CEO, LandlordBC —
“As already old rental housing continues to age, there is increased pressure to renovate or redevelop these homes, while at the same time ensuring the health and safety of existing tenants. Our industry recognizes the need to provide sufficient notice to allow tenants ample time to secure new homes. Providing the option to return to their renovated unit at market rent, something many in our industry already do, will further contribute to housing security.”
- On April 10, 2018, the Province announced a new Rental Housing Task Force, chaired by MLA for Vancouver-West End Spencer Chandra Herbert: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0015-000608
- Based on public and stakeholder consultations, the task force will consider further improvements to the Residential Tenancy Act and Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act.
- The changes introduced today and the work of the task force will build on the actions taken by government to date.
- To help renters, the Province will provide $116 million over three years to expand eligibility and increase the average benefits under the Rental Assistance Program (RAP) and Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER).
- Beginning Sept. 1, 2018, more than 35,000 households will benefit from the enhancements, including 3,200 newly eligible seniors and families.
- The average payment for RAP recipients will go up by approximately $800 a year.
- The average payment for SAFER recipients will go up by approximately $930 a year.
- The B.C. government has strengthened protection from unfair rent increases by closing the fixed-term lease loophole and eliminating the geographic rent increase clause: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017MAH0010-001815 and news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017MAH0021-002036
- The Province is providing $6.8 million in new funding to the Residential Tenancy Branch to reduce wait times for tenancy disputes and to establish a new compliance unit to take action against landlords and tenants who are repeat or serious offenders: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017FIN0024-001557
- The Province is also investing $1.1 billion over 10 years to upgrade and improve existing affordable rental housing throughout B.C. This investment will fund seismic and fire-safety upgrades and essential repairs and maintenance, making homes safer and more comfortable for residents.