As a Realtor sometimes I get to participate in some very complex problems and issues arising from tenancies. I have some experience from being a landlord myself and have helped my clients in guiding them to get proper resources in dealing with tenancies. I am not a licenced property manager so I’m not an expert in this field that’s why I strongly recommend and warn you to do your own research before you commit to being a landlord. Whether you are a tenant or landlord it’s very important to know the rules of the game. My assumption is that majority of landlords are honest, decent and responsible people. I also assume the same great qualities apply to the tenants. Of course there are small groups of people that play outside of the norm and don’t play by the rules and that’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules of the game if you intend to participate.
I understand that the tenancy act appears at first to be very complex but when you look deeper it’s actually very easy to understand and there are simple rules to follow based on the principle of “just do the right thing”
Here’s a brief summary of new rules that came into effect on July 1, 2021.
How can a landlord increase rent? Currently due to factors such as current health crisis the government has put a freeze on rent increases until December 31, 2021. So legally you can’t increase rent this year. The maximum allowable rent increase for next year will be publicly announced at the end of the summer.
What if you evicted your tenant so you can do some renovations and then rent it out to a new tenant at a higher market rent? This is referred commonly as a “Renoviction”. This is a very hot topic and I feel that it needs to be analyzed in depth to make sure you understand it clearly.
As of July 1, 2021 under new legislation if a landlord wants to end a tenancy for extensive renovations the landlord will have to apply for “order of possession” from the Residential Tenancy Branch. There will be a process of dispute resolution where an arbitrator will decide if ending the tenancy is the only way to complete this work.
The most important factor is to prove that the renovation you’re trying to do will require the tenant to move out. Simple replacing of kitchen cabinets, installation of flooring, or painting is considered cosmetic repairs and do not constitute as “extensive” repairs.
“Section 49.2 of the Residential Tenancy Act establishes four basic requirements to end a tenancy for renovations or repairs:
- the landlord has all the necessary permits and approvals required by law and intends in good faith to renovate or repair the rental unit(s)
- the renovations or repairs require the unit(s) to be vacant
- the renovations or repairs are necessary to prolong or sustain the use of the rental unit(s) or the building where the rental unit(s) are located
- the only reasonable way to achieve the necessary vacancy is to end the tenancy agreement
If the above requirements are met, a landlord can apply to the RTB (Residential Tenancy Branch) for an order of possession to end a tenancy. There will be a hearing where the landlord and tenant can provide their evidence and the arbitrator will make a decision.
After July 1, 2021 the only reason a landlord can serve a Four Month Notice to End Tenancy is:
- convert the residential property to strata lots under the Strata Property Act;
- demolish the rental unit;
- convert the residential property into a not for profit housing cooperative under the Cooperative Association Act;
- convert the rental unit for use by a caretaker, manager or superintendent of the residential property; or
- convert the rental unit to a non-residential use.”
The violation of laws by the tenant under normal circumstances could result in termination of lease and/or losing your damage deposit. In my next article I would like to address this in more detail.
The landlord has more to lose however because if the landlord is found in violation of rules can face a penalty of up to 12 months of rent to be payable to the tenant. That can be a big hit to some people, and sometimes it’s the only way of getting rid of an undesirable tenant.
There is no way around rules and some of the most common scenarios won’t be acceptable, like:
- A landlord ends a tenancy to occupy the rental unit and then changes their mind.
- A landlord ends a tenancy to renovate the rental unit but did not adequately budget for the renovations and cannot complete them because they run out of funds.
If you need further information I highly recommend going to the government website (link provided below). It contains all the information that you need. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies
We are in a housing crisis and avoiding the subject won’t solve the problem. Shelter is the basic human need as shown in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, and I feel it’s very important to treat it as such.
I strongly believe that education and free information is a step in the right direction. The Residential Tenancy Branch offers a lot of help to both tenants and landlords before problems arise, I highly suggest you contact them directly. They are very helpful and professional.
Being a landlord is hard because you bought an investment that cost you a lot of money and in some circumstances the financing for your home was subject to you having a rented unit to supplement your mortgage payments. You are financially, emotionally and physically attached to your property. This may be just an investment but you want to rent it out to someone that will take care of it as much as you would. This is a trap that will get every landlord in trouble. Tenants don’t have these bonds as you do and having the expectation of tenants to care as much about your property as you do, is simply just not realistic. Spare yourself some nerves, tears and disappointments. Just don’t expect your tenant to be like you. Most tenants are very decent people and they will treat your property as what it is, YOUR property.
Not every tenant is a low-life with a low paying job, or a young person that is starting out in life. Today a lot more people are choosing to be tenants. Being a home owner when you look just at the numbers have been wonderful and a guaranteed “win” especially if you base your opinion on the last 40 years or longer. The question remains if this trend will continue and what is the true cost of owning a home today. Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe that owning is better than renting BUT not always, and not in every market. I believe in analyzing your budget, having long term goals and planning your future carefully. The constant balance between supply and demand of housing is what dictates the prices and also vacancy rates of rental units. We have been very fortunate that the constant influx of new immigrants and high demand for housing has been very favorable to home owners. As long as this continues things will be just peachy.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at home at
250-285-2141 I’m here to serve you better.
Roman Krzaczek REALTOR ®
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