Two important changes have been made to the Residential Tenancy Act to improve the legal protection of tenants across British Columbia.
1. No More Vacate Clauses
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 pages on Evictions and Rent Increases for more information.
2. No more Geographic Rent Increases
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.