RECENT RTA CHANGES
The annual rent increase formula in the Residential Tenancy Regulation has been amended to eliminate the guaranteed 2% increase that landlords previously received. This means that the standard rent increase for 2019 will be 2.5% rather than 4.5%.
See TRAC’s webpage, Rent Increases, for more information.
Landlords are now required to provide a Four Month Eviction Notice if they plan to:
- demolish a rental unit; or
- make significant renovations or repairs that require the rental unit to be empty
The deadline to challenge this notice has also increased. Tenants now have 30 days to dispute this notice through the Residential Tenancy Branch.
In residential properties containing five or more rental units, tenants being evicted due to renovations or repairs have a “first right of refusal” to return to their unit once the renovations or repairs have been completed. Although this may sound like a great opportunity, the problem is that the landlord can set the new rent at whatever amount they desire.
If you are interested in being offered a new tenancy agreement for your renovated unit, provide your landlord with written notice of your intention to use your first right of refusal. This will require your landlord to, at least 45 days before the completion of the renovations or repairs, inform you of the date your renovated unit will be available and provide you with a new tenancy agreement for that effective date.
There are strict penalties when it comes to this area of the law. If your landlord does not offer you a first right of refusal after you have given proper notice, or does not end up doing what they said they would do on any type of landlord’s use eviction notice, they could end up owing you 12 months of your previous rent as compensation.
See TRAC’s webpage on Evictions for more information.
For years, landlords used fixed term tenancy agreements with vacate clauses to avoid rent control and evict tenants for reasons outside of the Residential Tenancy Act. Thankfully, vacate clauses can now only be used in the two following circumstances:
- when a tenant temporarily sublets their rental unit to a subtenant; and
- when a landlord or a close family member of that landlord intends in good faith at the time of entering into the tenancy agreement to occupy the rental unit at the end of the term.
This change is retrospective, which means that it applies to current and future tenancy agreements. If you have already signed a fixed term tenancy agreement with a vacate clause, this new law affects you in a positive way. At the end of your fixed term agreement, your landlord cannot force you to move out for no reason, or make you sign a brand new agreement with a significant rent increase in order to stay. In other words, they will only be able to evict you for reasons listed in the Residential Tenancy Act, and will only be able to raise your rent by the allowable annual percentage – 4% for 2018. See TRAC’s webpages on Evictions and Rent Increases for more information.
The Residential Tenancy Act no longer allows additional geographic rent increases. This means that landlords can no longer apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for rent increases above the allowable annual percentage because a rental unit has a lower rent compared to other rental units in the same geographic area.