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Posted: July 10, 2024

Website launched to protect renters from bad-faith evictions

A new website launching on July 18 aims to better protect renters from being evicted in bad faith and bring improvements to the process for landlords.

While some landlords do need to reclaim their units (for example, a first-time homebuyer who wants to live in their new home), evictions initiated under false pretences continue to happen, either deliberately or unknowingly. Some landlords evict tenants under the guise of landlord use, only to rent out the unit again at a significantly higher rent.

Starting July 18, landlords will be required to use the Landlord Use Web Portal to generate Notices to End Tenancy for personal occupancy or caretaker use. Landlords generating notices to end tenancy will be required to include information about the persons moving into the home.

Through this process, landlords are informed of the significant penalties they could face if they are found to be evicting a tenant in bad faith. By requiring landlords to include the information of who will be occupying the home on the notice, tenants can have a better sense of the landlords’ intentions and may provide this information at the dispute hearing if they believe the landlord is acting in bad faith.

Under the Residential Tenancy Act, a landlord can evict a tenant if the following people will be moving in:

* they or a close family member (parent, spouse or child);

* a purchaser of the property or a close family member of the purchaser; or

* a superintendent for the building.

Effective July 18, the province will increase the amount of notice a tenant must receive and the amount of time they have to dispute an eviction. Landlords will also be required to give tenants four months’ notice instead of two months when evicting for personal or caretaker use, giving displaced tenants more time to find a new home.

Tenants will have 30 days to dispute Notices to End Tenancy instead of the current 15 days. The person moving into the home must occupy it for a minimum of 12 months and landlords who evict in bad faith could be ordered to pay the displaced tenant 12 months’ rent.

“Protecting a landlord’s right to reclaim a rental unit for personal use is critical to maintaining a balanced rental housing market,” said David Hutniak, CEO, LandlordBC. “It is also important that landlords know their responsibilities when exercising this right and that they understand the risks of bad-faith evictions. The Landlord Use Web Portal will not only educate landlords about the process, but it will also standardize the process for improved efficiency while increasing transparency.”

The Landlord Use Web Portal will also allow the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) to conduct post-eviction compliance audits and provide information to the RTB about the frequency of these types of evictions. Changes to the process for evicting tenants for personal and caretaker use aim to support the rights and interests of both landlords and tenants, while creating a standardized process for ending tenancies for personal and caretaker use.

e-KNOW file photo

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