Province of British Columbia

04/02/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/02/2024 11:53

More protections for renters, parents, landlords, families

VICTORIA - The Province is taking action to support renters and landlords who play by the rules by amending legislation to better protect people from bad-faith evictions, eliminate rent increases when a child is added to a household and resolve rental disputes faster.

"While most landlords and tenants play by the rules and have respectful relationships, too many people in B.C. are still facing unfair rent hikes and evictions under false pretenses," said Premier David Eby. "At the same time, many people who have chosen to rent part of their home are struggling to end problematic tenancies. That's why we're taking action to protect both renters and landlords with stronger rules designed to ensure the law is respected by everyone - and bring more fairness for everyone in the rental market."

Proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act and the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act will protect growing families by restricting rent increases if a tenant adds a child under 19 to their household. No rent increases above the annual allowable rent increase will be permitted even if there is a term in the tenancy agreement that states rent will increase with new occupants.

The amendments will also deter bad-faith evictions by requiring landlords to use a web portal to generate a notice to evict a tenant for personal use. This will help educate landlords about the required conditions and risks of bad-faith evictions, while providing a standardized process for serving notice. The new process for evictions will also allow for post-eviction compliance audits and provide information to the ministry about the frequency of these types of evictions.

"We are taking action to protect tenants from unfair evictions, promote better compliance and improve the rental system overall," said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. "Renters should not lose their homes because of some bad actors who don't follow the rules. Landlords need the certainty that issues with problematic tenants can be resolved quickly. By putting stronger policies in place and increasing education, we are strengthening protections and promoting stability in the rental market."

Action is also being taken to resolve rental disputes faster. Since November 2022, wait times at the Residential Tenancy Branch have been reduced by almost 54%, due in large part to additional staff, service improvements and investments to provide resolutions faster. Wait times for the dispute stream that fast tracks hearings for unpaid rent and/or utilities decreased by more than 52% from 10.5 weeks in February 2023 to less than five weeks in February 2024, providing quicker resolution for landlords waiting to get their units back.

The Ministry of Attorney General's new Money Judgment Enforcement Act will come into force in 2025, which will make it easier and less costly for people to get the money owed to them from decisions resulting from Residential Tenancy Branch hearings.

Other changes through these proposed amendments include:

  • allowing for more flexibility in addressing cases where there is a problematic tenancy and prescribing more clear guidelines for ending tenancy with justified cause;
  • increasing the amount of notice a landlord must give a tenant when ending a tenancy for personal occupancy;
  • increasing the amount of time a landlord must occupy a rental unit after ending a tenancy for personal occupancy from six months to 12 months;
  • increasing the amount of time a tenant has to dispute a notice to end tenancy from 15 days to 30 days;
  • prohibiting evictions for personal use in purpose-built rental buildings with five or more units; and
  • prohibiting eviction for the conversion of rental units to specific non-residential uses.

"These changes are critical to protect good renters and landlords from those who try and cheat the system for profit," said Spencer Chandra Herbert, premier's liaison for renters and MLA for Vancouver-West End. "We know of too many people who act in good faith that are facing the consequences of those who take advantage of the system, and this legislation is crucial to put an end to that."

Since 2017, the Province has taken action to better protect renters, including banning illegal renovictions, strengthening the financial penalties for landlords who evict tenants in bad faith and improving wait times at the Residential Tenancy Branch. The proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act meet government priorities as laid out in the Homes for People Action Plan, further strengthening tenancies in B.C.

More information about the proposed changes can be found in the backgrounder that follows.

Quick Facts:

  • The Residential Tenancy Act allows a landlord to end a tenancy for landlord use of the unit, which includes personal occupancy by the landlord, a purchaser or a close family member, conversion of the unit to another use, or demolition.
  • The changes being proposed in the bill apply to "personal occupancy," i.e., the landlord or family members moving in.
  • Without the need for a hearing, the direct-request process for landlords who want an order of possession, where the tenant has not disputed the eviction, are being determined in a little more than one week.

Learn More:

To learn more about government's new Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

To access residential tenancy resources, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/housing

A backgrounder follows.