Changes to BC’s Residential Tenancy Regulations

Big news for BC tenants and landlords as Bill 16 comes into effect as we are rounding off 2017. The Bill 16 has been in the making for months and is a part of the BC government’s initiative to protect tenants in our province. Going forward, the changes will affect both existing and new fixed – term tenancy contracts that have a “vacate” clause. In adherence to the change in regulation, one of the measures is to ensure closing of the fixed – term lease loophole so that the landlords are unable to bypass the rent control.

Landlords are still able to include a “vacate” clause, so long as the circumstances are such as when the landlord decides to move in or a close family member decides to occupy the rental unit. Unless the landlord and tenant agree to another fixed term (of any length), the tenancy will automatically continue on a month-to-month basis under the original agreement. The previous rules about ending fixed and periodic tenancies will still apply.

If you are wondering how the tenancy can end without a vacate clause – most rules are still applicable. The landlord and the tenant can strike a mutual agreement and come to a conclusion.

Also, an RTR arbitrator can order the end of a tenancy for a breach of an agreement by either party.  And thereafter, as per the “old” regulations, landlords can serve the tenant one of the following notices to end tenancy:

  • 10-day notice –  for unpaid rent or utilities, or
  • One-month notice - for cause (for example repeated late payment of rent or illegal sublet), or
  • Two-month notice  –  for landlord’s use of property or when the tenant no longer qualifies for the subsidized housing.

In a situation where the landlords have an existing agreement on the vacate clause, they can have a discussion with the tenant regarding the intended use of the rental unit at the end of the fixed-term. A tenant who wants to move out on the date originally agreed to in the tenancy agreement will need to provide one month written notice to you. The tenants will not be required to move out at the end of the term unless they are in a sublease agreement, or the landlord meets the specific circumstances as we mentioned above.

If you have a discussion with your tenant regarding the intended use of the rental unit at the end of the fixed-term. A tenant who wants to move out on the date originally agreed to in the tenancy agreement will need to provide one month written notice to you.

The tenants will not be required to move out at the end of the term unless they are in a sublease agreement, or the landlord meets the specific circumstances as we mentioned above.

In addition, there are two situations involving existing leases where a vacate clause can still be enforced.  If, before the day the legislative amendments were introduced (October 26, 2017):

  1. A landlord, expecting their tenant to move out at the end of the term, had already entered into a tenancy agreement with a new tenant; or
  1. A landlord was granted an order of possession requiring a tenant to vacate the unit, but the possession order takes effect after December 11, 2017.

Another important aspect of the regulation is in regard to the rental increase. The increase in rent for a tenant remaining in a rental unit is limited to the maximum annual allowable amount, and can only be increased once every 12 months. For 2018 this amount set is at 4% and the landlord must provide the tenant with a 3 full rental months’ notice. The rental cannot be increased over and above the amount agreed on the tenancy agreements with the same tenant.

New rules also do not allow landlords to apply for an additional rent increase on the basis that the rent is significantly lower than other similar rental units in the same geographic area.

It will be interesting to see how these new regulations will change the rental market landscape in the upcoming months and years. Do you feel overwhelmed with all these new changes to the Residential Tenancy Regulations seemingly happening every month? We can help! RIF Realty offers full property management services in Vancouver and Toronto. Our experienced team stays atop of all changes in laws, regulations and other factors that affect you as a property owner. For more information Contact us Today.