Changes to the Residential Tenancy Act

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The Residential Tenancy Act was amended on May 17 2018. It is important that landlords and tenants understand how these changes affect their rights and obligations.

What’s Changed in the Residential Tenancy Act?

Effective May 17 2018:

  1. Landlords must give four months’ notice to end tenancy for demolition, renovation or repair, or conversion, and tenants have 30 days to dispute the notice,
  2. A landlord or purchaser if applicable must compensate a tenant 12 months’ rent (unless excused by an arbitrator in extenuating circumstances) if a landlord or purchaser ends a tenancy under section 49 (landlord use) and they don’t:
    1. take steps to accomplish the stated purpose for ending the tenancy under section 49 within a reasonable period after the effective date of the notice, or
    2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. A landlord must compensate a tenant 12 months’ rent (unless excused by an arbitrator in extenuating circumstances) if the tenant exercises a right of first refusal and the landlord does not give the tenant:
    1. a 45 day notice of availability
    2. a tenancy agreement to sign.
  5. If a landlord is ending a tenancy on behalf of a purchaser, the notice must contain the purchaser’s name and address.

Questions and AnswersIf I gave a two month notice to end tenancy for demolition, renovation or conversion on May 17 2018, is it valid?

No it is not. 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 a tenancy for demolition, renovation or conversion on or after May 17 2018.You must issue a new four month notice to end tenancy.

If I received a two month notice to end tenancy for demolition, renovation or conversion on May 17 2018, what should I do?If it was given for demolition, renovation or conversion on or after May 17 2018, the notice is not valid. You can contact the Residential Tenancy Branch for more information.

Why is compensation being increased?To discourage landlords from using section 49 notices (landlord use) to wrongfully evict tenants – e.g., to rent to a new tenant at higher rent without accomplishing the purpose for ending the tenancy.Why is the director allowed to excuse a landlord from paying compensation, and what are “extenuating circumstances”?Landlords can end tenancies for landlord use if they are acting in good faith, i.e. they intend to accomplish the purpose for ending the tenancy, or use the rental unit for that purpose, and they meet any other requirements there are for the purpose they are ending the tenancy. Sometimes, extenuating circumstances prevent a landlord from doing so, through no fault of the landlord.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 accidentally destroyed by fire.

Why is the notice period being increased to 4 months and the dispute period to 30 days?To give tenants more time to move, and to dispute a notice in low vacancy rental markets where evictions for demolition, renovation or conversion are happening frequently.

Why is the right of first refusal being included?To give tenants the first chance to enter into a new tenancy agreement if their tenancy was ended for renovations.

Why is the right of first refusal not tied to rent control?Government doesn’t want to discourage landlords from investing in their properties and performing necessary maintenance.

Why does a purchaser’s name and address need to be included if a landlord ends a tenancy on behalf of a purchaser?
So a tenant can apply for compensation from the purchaser, if the purchaser or their close family member does not move into the rental unit within a reasonable period.