Victoria – Legislative changes, if passed, will build on the Province’s work to give British Columbians more security by extending the rent freeze to Dec. 31, 2021.
The changes will also cap future rent increases to inflation, stop illegal renovictions and make the dispute resolution process better for tenants and landlords.
To protect tenants, landlords will be required to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) before they can terminate a tenancy agreement for the purpose of renovating. In addition, landlords will not be able to end tenancies for renovations that are not substantial or do not require the rental unit to be vacant. These changes, if passed, will come into effect on July 1, 2021, and are in addition to earlier protections introduced in 2018.
With the Province having already introduced and extended a rent freeze during COVID-19, the new legislative changes to freeze rents until the end of the year will mean all renters who have received notice of a rent increase that would have taken effect after March 30, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2022, can disregard those notices. Starting in 2022 and beyond, rent increases will be capped at the rate of inflation, fulfilling a commitment by government.
Prior to 2017, the maximum allowable rent increase was as high as 4.3%, well above inflation.
The proposed changes are also a further step to address the Rental Housing Task Force (RHTF) recommendations. Other proposed changes to the Residential Tenancy Act and the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act include:
* expanding the scope of administrative penalties the Compliance and Enforcement Unit can levy, including for giving false or misleading information in a dispute resolution proceeding or investigation;
* improving fairness in the residential tenancy dispute resolution process by expanding grounds for the RTB to review arbitrator decisions; and
* clarifying language in the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act to address conflicts between park rules and tenancy agreements.