Earlier this year, the new Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby introduced Bill 7 - the Tenancy Statutes Amendment Act which will come into effect on July 1, 2021.
Bill 7 includes the most significant change we’ve seen to Renoviction laws so far, but stops short of outlawing them altogether.
What we know:
BC will no longer have a legal eviction form for the purposes of Renovations or Repairs
Not all types of renovictions are banned, but your landlord must apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) with proper evidence before they can evict you
- The government has a list of what types of repairs might require you to move out (see chart at the end).
NEW LAW (Starting July 1, 2021):
Short of outlawing all renovations completely, this is a good added layer of bureaucracy that could disincentivize landlords from trying to make frivolous renoviction attempts, and should allow the RTB to catch any that have absolutely no merit.
- Tenants have some new grounds to argue with. Bill 7 adds a new subsection that makes it so landlords can only evict for renovations that are “necessary to prolong or sustain the use of the rental unit or building.” Tenants can now challenge renovictions by arguing that the renovations are not necessary. This should, in theory, put an end to the practice of renovicting for cosmetic or other minor changes.
Fundamentally, these changes will not end renovictions. Renters should watch very carefully to see what RTB arbitrators are allowing landlords to get away with.
Renovicted tenants still only get 1 month’s rent as compensation. Landlords who do not actually do the renovations may have to pay 12 months’ rent, but can get out of it for “extenuating circumstances”. It always has been, and will continue to be, difficult for tenants to prove that they are entitled to this compensation.
The economic incentive to renovict remains because rents can be jacked up drastically when a tenant moves out - vacancy control would be a more effective way of preventing renovictions, because it removes a big part of the incentive for landlords
- As ever, a major problem is that renters do not know their rights. These new rules are a significant shift in the way renovictions are handled, at a time when development is only accelerating. Landlords can continue to renovict by tricking tenants who don’t know their rights, or using pressure tactics like buyout offers and various forms of harassment. VTU members have seen first-hand that these tactics disproportionately displace low income, elderly and racialized renters. The Province and City should be working very hard to deliver this information clearly in multiple languages.
The province created these a tables from RTB Policy Guideline 2b, which shows what kind of renovations may require an eviction:
BC’s Anti-Renoviction Reform Is Too Weak, Says Tenants’ Advocate (The Tyee)
- VTU Renovictions Analysis