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The landlord-tenant relationship can often be abused if proper legislative rules are not passed and practiced and this has been a common theme and motivator behind tenancy disputes that make news headlines. In one especially offsetting scenario, loopholes in the laws give less scrupulous landlords a certain edge of exercising their power through illegal renoviction and geographic rent hikes. Tenants may often find themselves at the end of a meritless eviction and forced vacancy under the veil of a renovation notice which references minor and cosmetic improvements that in effect do not require vacation possession of the home. 

Recommendations to bring necessary changes to the Residential Tenancy Act and the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act have become a prevalent topic for discussion within legislative and advocacy groups. The current set of proposed legislative amendments are aimed to fulfill the majority of the Rental Housing Task Force’s report and recommendations for the province. The new legislation would require landlords to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) before they can serve notice to rightfully terminate a tenancy for the purpose of renovating, and be a stopgap to notices in bad faith. 

“The changes mean no more tenants will face eviction notices for phony renovations that were never going to happen,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver West-End, on behalf of David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “By putting an end to this kind of bullying behavior, meant to drive out long-term tenants and jack up the rent, we’re protecting renters and supporting rental housing providers who do proactive maintenance of their rental homes.”

The Proposed Legislative Changes

Amendments for the protection of tenants were brought in 2018, and current changes  will continue an effort to provide added security to tenants. The proposed changes will require landlords to apply for Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) before tenants are asked to terminate the tenancy agreement and vacate the property for renovations. The legislative amendment also proposes that no renovictions shall be done if the property does not need to be vacated for renovation work. If formally approved, both of these legislative changes will take effect by July 1, 2021.

The Residential tenancy dispute resolution process plays a pivotal role in ensuring a fair assessment in a dispute and the provision of rights to tenant and landlord, and potential amendments will also pay due to procedural fairness. The proposed changes support an increase in the powers that the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) can exercise to ensure a fair residential tenancy dispute resolution process and expands the capacity of the RTB to thoroughly review the dispute and the final verdict passed by the arbitrator. Proposed amendments also outline a clause to enforce strict penalties to the individuals who provide false information during the residential tenancy dispute resolution process. 

The current and previous amendments encompass a formal report and recommendation from the Rental Housing Task Force, and if there are further changes down the road, the expectation will be further alignment with the recommendations as tasked to the housing report.

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