British Columbia

B.C. government to give more rights and compensation to renovicted tenants

Renters in British Columbia could soon have enhanced rights and compensation when evicted from their homes.

Landlords would have to give four months notice of eviction; right of first refusal at market rental rate

A woman walks past a 'For Rent' sign.
The B.C. government has introduced legislation to give renters facing evictions or demolition of their homes more rights and compensation. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

Renters in British Columbia could soon have enhanced rights and compensation if evicted from homes when they're renovated or demolished. 

The Tenancy Statutes Amendment Act, which contains a number of changes to the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act and Residential Tenancy Act, was introduced in the legislature Thursday.

For most tenants, the changes include the following:

  • Four months notice, up from two, if a landlord evicts them to demolish, renovate, or convert the unit to a non-rental, non-housing or caretaker unit
  • Thirty days notice, up from 15, to apply for dispute resolution in those cases
  • A years' worth of rental compensation, if an eviction is enacted in bad faith in those circumstances 
  • A first right-of-refusal in multi-unit buildings, at the market rate, when evictions happen because of renovation or repair. 

For tenants evicted from manufactured home parks because the park is being converted, there are the following changes:

  • $20,000 in compensation from the landlord, instead of the current 12 months pad rental
  • For homes that can't be moved, compensation covering the assessed value (minus $20,000)

"Today's Residential Tenancy Act amendments are a step in the right direction — particularly the decision to increase the penalty against landlords who abuse vacate clauses and "landlord's use" of eviction notices," said Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre executive director Andrew Sakomoto in a statement. 

However, he also said the government should provide more upfront compensation to people evicted due to renovations or evictions.

"Most notably, the 'right of first refusal' in its current form, despite sounding positive, offers almost no increased benefit to tenants facing renovictions. We strongly urge the provincial government to increase compensation for tenants being displaced at no fault of their own due to renovations or demolitions and/or implement a more meaningful right of first refusal." 

The government says the changes won't stop the newly-created Rental Task Force from making further recommendations on renovictions as they see fit. 

"There's certainly more work to do," said Robinson.

"[The task force] will be talking with whomever wants to engage with us and share with us what more we ought to do to balance the needs of renters and landlords. This is an important relationship, and we need to make sure it works better."