New Westminster – New Westminster City Council has instructed staff to begin the process of repealing Part 6 of the Business Regulations and Licensing (Rental Units) Bylaw. In February 2019, the City amended the bylaw to include Part 6 which regulates how landlords and rental building owners can undertake renovations, and includes a number of regulations pertaining to restrictions on evictions. The repeal is in response to changes made to the Residential Tenancy Act in July 2021 which render Part 6 of the City’s bylaw inoperable.
“Due in large part to the success of the City of New Westminster’s bylaw changes, the Province of British Columbia followed our lead to ensure renters across the province are afforded similar protection,” said Mayor Jonathan X. Coté. “With the recent changes made to the Residential Tenancy Act, Part 6 of our bylaw is no longer currently required. We appreciate the Province’s action towards resolving the incidence of renovictions and as a city, we will continue to work and advocate for better tenant protection.”
To address numerous local complaints by residents experiencing renoviction, the City of New Westminster took bold action in 2019 to amend its Business Regulations and Licensing (Rental Units) Bylaw to include Part 6, a section that has specifically aimed to deter renovictions and to provide protection to those tenants who may be displaced by large scale renovation work. The City of New Westminster was the first municipality in British Columbia to tackle the issue of renovictions using municipal regulations and, as such, is considered a leader among municipalities for its bold and direct action to protect tenants. The decrease in the number of renovictions since the new regulations have been in place has been dramatic.
In April 2021, the BC Court of Appeal upheld a court challenge to Part 6 and confirmed local governments may use their general powers to pass bylaws in relation to landlord and tenant matters. This decision broke new legal ground and is an important precedent for all BC municipal governments.
“The City of New Westminster has done significant work to address renovictions and to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords,” said Emilie K. Adin, Director of Climate Action, Planning and Development. “Part 6 of the City’s bylaw, and our resulting victories at the BC Supreme Court and the BC Court of Appeal, have helped us achieve our goal. We are proud to have paved the way for advancements in regulations and legal precedent.”
The new provincial legislation creates new provisions that place the onus on landlords to prove that their renovations are necessary and reasonable, and renders Part 6 of the City’s bylaw inoperative.
For more information on the City of New Westminster’s renovictions, tenant protection and resources, please visit newwestcity.ca/tenants
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Emilie K. Adin
Director of Climate Action, Planning and Development
City of New Westminster