When your apartment building sells to new owners, it’s an important time for tenants to be vigilant for tactics that are used to scare tenants to leave. Talk to your neighbours. Sharing information with each other increases everyone’s chances of not being tricked, harassed or pressured to leave.
DO NOT MOVE OUT - YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO...
Keep your rent controlled tenancy agreement
- The old owner cannot evict you before they sell the building, nor can they evict you as a condition of the building sale.
- The new owner must honour your existing tenancy agreement. You do not have to renegotiate a new lease/tenancy agreement with higher rents or fewer services.
- Click here to learn more about your right to maintain your tenancy on the Residential Tenancy Branch website.
Be compensated and/or protected if your landlord intends to demolish your home (Demoviction)
- If your landlord plans to evict you so that they can demolish the building, they must follow the City of Vancouver’s Tenant Relocation & Protection Policy.
If you live in the Broadway Corridor area, you may have the right to return to the new building at a reduced rent, or the same rent you pay now.
- Click here to learn more about your rights under the Tenant Relocation & Protection Policy.
Not be evicted for renovations (Renoviction)
- In most circumstances, your landlord cannot evict you to renovate your suite. All landlords in B.C. must submit an application to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) and provide evidence that there is a major repair that requires you to vacate your suite. You have a right to participate in this process and dispute your landlord's claim with evidence.
- Click here to learn more about the Residential Tenancy Branch process on their website.
- Click here to learn more B.C.'s renoviction protections on our website.
Beware of these common tactics
Cash for Keys (Buyouts)
Your new landlord might offer you money to move out. Sometimes this offer will be a knock at the door from someone giving you a high-pressure sales pitch, or it might be a letter written by a lawyer with a limited time window to respond.
Remember: it’s likely a better deal for them than it is for you. VTU members have worked with tenants who have been offered tens of thousands of dollars to leave, but ultimately they choose to stay because they know that moving and paying market-rate rents will eat up all of that money very quickly.
It is legal for your landlord to offer you a mutual agreement to end tenancy, but it is also legal for you to refuse to sign it. Do your research on your rights, wclaims your landlord is making, and contact the VTU or a tenant advocate for advice before you sign or agree to anything.
Removing Services or Increasing the Price of Services
VTU members have shared experiences where new landlords try to cut their costs by changing the services in your building. This could be increasing the price of parking, removing laundry services, removing a live-in building manager etc.
In some cases, this is legal to do, and in other cases you have the right to be compensated for the loss of services. There are also limits on fees that landlords can charge.
- Click here to learn more about terminating services and facilities on TRAC's website
- Click here to learn more about limits on fees that landlords can charge
Talk to your neighbours - even if the law isn't on your side, there is still an opportunity to organize and demand a return of services. If you are interested in organizing around an issue, contact us.
Changing Rent Delivery or Utility Systems
Unfortunately, the law does not set parameters on how landlords require tenants to pay rent. VTU members have shared experiences where new landlords have changed the system of rent payment and caused undue panic and hardship on tenants.
For example, switching payment to a third party app might be a technology barrier for seniors. In one case, a landlord changed the rent payment system with minimal notice, and proceeded to hand out eviction notices as soon as some tenants failed to utilize the new system. In another instance, a landlord set up their own utility company and tried to force tenants to pay more for utilities, which was really going straight to the landlord.
Again, it's important to talk to your neighbours if your landlord changes these systems. Be sure your neighbours know what's coming and help ensure nobody is tricked or evicted.
Landlord's Use of Property Eviction
If you live in a rented house or condo, there is a strong chance that a new owner might try to evict you using the "Landlord's Use of Property" eviction form after purchasing the property.
Unfortunately this type of eviction is becoming more common, however, if you believe that your new landlord has no intention of moving into your suite, you can challenge it by filing a dispute at the Residential Tenancy Branch. Like any eviction, your landlord must serve you notice on the proper government form, which gives you two months notice to move out and fifteen days to file a dispute. With this type of eviction, you are entitled to be compensated at the equivalent of one month's rent, or the final month rent-free.
- Click here to learn more about the Landlord's Use of Property eviction notice, and how to dispute it on the Residential Tenancy Branch website
Most apartment buildings in the City of Vancouver have zoning laws in place that require owners to use them only for long term rentals, meaning that they cannot turn your unit into their new home. In one case we heard about, a landlord gave the "Landlord's Use of Property'' eviction notice to multiple units in the same building! Only by talking to their neigbhours did the tenants realize that this was a trick to get them out. If your landlord gives you a "Landlord's Use of Property'' eviction notice and you live in an apartment building, you should call the City (3-1-1) to determine if your address is "Protected Rental Stock".
Has your landlord tried one of the tactics above? Do you have a different situation and want to talk to someone?
Click here to find an advocate to learn more about your rights
Click here to contact the Vancouver Tenants Union for support organizing your neighbours