If you're a Landlord in British Columbia and you are not already aware of the recent Changes in the BC Landlord and Tenant Act then you need to read on!
These changes affect Fixed Term Tenancies and Rent Increases.
If you're thinking of Buying or Selling Real Estate in BC, it may affect your ability to give or receive vacant possession, so it's important to be informed.
My video will give you key points to consider and my Blog post will include links directly to the Government Website which provides the Forms you may need and further details.
Landlords will no longer be able to include a “vacate” clause in a fixed-term tenancy agreement except in certain circumstances.
Unless the landlord and tenant agree to another fixed term, the tenancy will automatically continue as a month-to-month tenancy under the same terms as the original agreement. This type of tenancy continues until one party serves notice or they both agree to end the tenancy.
Effective December 11, 2017, fixed term tenancy agreements can no longer include a vacate clause requiring a tenant to move out at the end of the term unless:
A rent increase for a tenant remaining in a rental unit is limited to the maximum annual allowable amount and can only be increased once every 12 months.
Landlords must provide tenants with 3 full rental months’ notice of a rent increase & use the approved form.
Landlords are no longer able to apply for an additional rent increase on the basis that the rent is significantly lower than other similar rental units in the same geographic area.
You may want to have a discussion with your tenant or landlord regarding the intended use of the rental unit at the end of the fixed-term.
If you are a tenant, you will not be required to move out at the end of the term unless you are in a sublease agreement, or the landlord meets the specific circumstances identified in the Residential Tenancy Regulation. This Regulation specifies a situation where a landlord or a landlord's close family member plans in good faith to occupy the rental unit (for example if the landlord has rented out their home during an extended absence for work, school or travel but has firm plans to return on a particular date.
A tenant who wants to move out on the date originally agreed to in the tenancy agreement will need to provide one month written notice to the landlord. The tenant and landlord may also agree to end the tenancy on the date originally identified as the end of the term. A mutual agreement to end a tenancy must be in writing and agreed to by both parties.
If you are a landlord and you intend to enforce the vacate clause under the specific circumstances identified in the Act or Regulation, you should advise your tenant. If the tenant doesn't agree in writing to mutually end the tenancy and move out at the end of the term, you will need to apply for an order of possession through the Residential Tenancy Branch.
At the hearing, the onus will be on you to clearly demonstrate to the arbitrator how you meet the allowable circumstances for a vacate clause.
There are two additional situations involving existing fixed-term tenancy agreements where a vacate clause can still be enforced. If, before the day the legislative amendments were introduced (October 26, 2017):
- A landlord, expecting their tenant to move out at the end of the term, had already entered into a tenancy agreement with a new tenant; or
- A landlord was granted an order of possession requiring a tenant to vacate the unit, but the possession order takes effect after December 11, 2017.
Existing Reasons for a Landlord to End Tenancy
Aside from removing the option to use a vacate clause, the rules around ending a tenancy have not changed. For example, a tenant can end a tenancy by providing the landlord with at least one rental month written notice.
A Residential Tenancy Branch arbitrator can order the end of a tenancy for a breach of a tenancy agreement by either party. Landlords and tenants can mutually agree to end a tenancy, which must be documented in writing. A mutual agreement to end a tenancy is recommended. Landlords can also end a tenancy by serving the tenant one of the following notices to end tenancy:
- 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy for unpaid rent or utilities
- One Month Notice to End Tenancy for cause or when the tenant’s employment has ended with the landlord (this applies when the rental unit is provided as a condition of employment).
- Two Month Notice to End Tenancy for landlord’s use or when the tenant no longer qualifies for the subsidized rental unit.