B.C. government takes steps to protect residents from ‘bad-faith’ evictions

Click to play video: 'New B.C. renter and landlord protection rules'
New B.C. renter and landlord protection rules
The B.C. government is rolling out changes to the Residential Tenancy Act designed to close loopholes in the existing rules and better protect renters and landlords. Angela Jung reports. – Apr 2, 2024

The B.C. government has announced it is taking measures to protect people from what it says are “bad-faith evictions.”

These new measures will eliminate rent increases when a child is added to a household and resolve rental disputes faster.

Click to play video: 'B.C. government announces new protections for renters'
B.C. government announces new protections for renters

“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,” Premier David Eby said. “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.”

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The proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act mean landlords cannot increase rent if a tenant adds a child under 19 to their household.

No rent increases above the annual allowable limit will be permitted even if there is a term in the tenancy agreement that states rent will increase with new occupants, the province states.

Landlords will also need to use a web portal to generate a notice to evict a tenant for personal use as the province says this will help landlords learn about the required conditions and risks of bad-faith evictions. It will also provide the Ministry of Housing with information about the frequency of these types of evictions.

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The B.C. government also wants to resolve rental disputes faster.

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

Click to play video: 'Expecting couple facing $600 rent hike for baby'
Expecting couple facing $600 rent hike for baby

In December 2023, Global News reported on a Vancouver woman who was eight months pregnant who said her landlord was threatening to raise the rent once her child was born.

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Joy Maynard and Antoine Moore had been living in their Vancouver basement suite since April 2021.

They told their landlord earlier in the summer about the pregnancy and Maynard said he informed them that his son is the owner of the house so they needed to talk to his son about these matters.

That’s when they said they were informed that any additional occupant would cost them $600 a month.

“We also told them that my mom is coming to visit. The son said that my mom is going to be considered an occupant,” Maynard said.

“So any rules that they have pertaining to occupants applies to my mom and as well to the baby. So there was a set amount in our lease that spoke about new occupants and it was $600 per person. We were hoping $600 for a baby would have seemed ridiculous to everybody, but they were like, ‘No, this is what it says in your lease. It’ll be that for the baby regardless. So there would be a stiff increase in your rent.’”

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Following that story, B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said the landlord should “give his head a shake” and indicated legislative changes could be coming.

“We know the majority of landlords are excellent, we know the majority of renters are fantastic, and what we have is a system where on the ends of a spectrum we have people who abuse the system,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Hundreds of B.C. landlords rally in support of petition, claim provincial laws working against them'
Hundreds of B.C. landlords rally in support of petition, claim provincial laws working against them

In early March, more than 200 upset landlords and their supporters gathered outside Kahlon’s office in Delta for a rally.

The rally was in support of a B.C.-based petition launched in October 2023.

Those in attendance believed the current tenancy laws were being abused by problematic tenants. They believed the current set of rules, regulations and laws were “outdated” and were discouraging potential and existing landlords from renting out viable spaces.

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“We still need some fairness and protection for the landlord,” Feng Lin, a Metro Vancouver landlord, said at the rally.

“(We) have very limited protection. For example, if the tenant is not paying rent, it takes months or even longer to have the right to evict a tenant. The procedure takes really long and then in the end even if (they) successfully evict a tenant, the landlord cannot get the rent.”

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