Renovictions, Tenant Protection and Resources
Renovictions | Tenants Resources and Rights | TRAC'S TENANT SURVIVAL GUIDE | RESIDENTIAL TENANCY ACT AND CHANGES | TENANT RELOCATION POLICY
The practice of renovictions, in which some landlords evict their tenants under the guise of performing major renovations and then significantly increase the rent on those units, is becoming more commonplace. Over the last two years, there is evidence that renovictions have occurred in at least fifteen rental buildings in New Westminster, affecting at least 340 units, and there may be other occasions that have not come to the attention of the City.
As of February 4, 2019, the City has in place new rules regarding the eviction of tenants for the purposes of building renovations. The new regulations can be found in Business Regulations and Licensing (Rental Units) Amendment Bylaw No. 8085, 2019. They require that prior to evicting tenants, the property owner must provide tenants with:
- alternative accommodation while the work is being carried out; and,
- an opportunity to return to the renovated unit without a rent increase, subject to any rent increase permitted under the BC Residential Tenancy Act.
To learn more about the new regulations:
- Click here to view our answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
- Click here for information on current housing initiatives.
Prior to February 4, 2019, when the new regulations came into effect, the City assisted tenants affected by renovictions, as outlined in the Renovictions Action Plan, adopted May 2, 2016. These actions included:
- Circulating copies of the Tenant Survival Guide and updates to the Residential Tenancy Act
- Sponsoring workshops on tenants’ rights
- Advocating for amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act to allow tenants the first right of refusal to return to their unit at a rent that is no more than the landlord could lawfully have charged if there had been no disruption in the tenancy.
The City of New Westminster has created a Tenants Resources and Rights Information guide. This guide includes information on various housing-related laws, organizations, contacts, and housing-related organizations.
TRAC (Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre) has produced a plain language guide on various tenants rights and responsibilities. TRAC’s purpose is to promote the legal protection of residential tenants across British Columbia by providing information, education, support and research on residential tenancy matters.
Tenancies for most rental properties in British Columbia (with the exception of co-ops, supportive housing, shelters, short-term rentals and shared room arrangements) are subject to the Residential Tenancy Act. There have been recent changes to the Residential Tenancy Act, including four-month notice required for eviction due to demolition, renovation, conversion or repair.
In 2015, the City developed a Tenant Relocation Policy, which applies in situations where the City has negotiation rights such as rezoning applications and ensures that tenants impacted by redevelopment and demolition are adequately notified and compensated and provided with assistance in finding new housing. A key component is the preparation of a Tenant Assistance Plan.