Renovictions, Tenant Protection and Resources

On May 27, 2019, in response to numerous complaints regarding renovictions, City Council amended the Business Regulations and Licensing (Rental Units) Bylaw to include Part 6, a section that specifically aimed to deter renovictions and to provide protection to those tenants who may be displaced by large scale renovation work.  The amendment was successful and resulted in a significant decrease in the number of reported renovictions and inquiries of concern. The City is considered a leader among municipalities across the nation for this work.

Click here to download a copy of our printable Tenant Information Sheet. 


The changes to the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) protect tenants by putting in place new requirements for landlords who want to do any type of renovations. The new rules say that if a landlord wants to end a tenancy for extensive renovations or repairs, they need to apply for an Order to End Tenancy and an Order of Possession from the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). When the landlord applies for the orders, the RTB will schedule a proceeding where an arbitrator will decide if ending the tenancy is the only way to complete the renovation work.
If the arbitrator decides that the tenancy must end, then the landlord must give the tenant a 4 month notice and the tenant is entitled to receive an amount that is equivalent of one month’s rent. The tenant also has the “right of first refusal”, which means the tenant can move back into the unit at market rent when the renovation or repair work is complete. If the tenant wants to exercise this right, they have to let the landlord know before they move out. 


The City’s goal was to address renovictions and protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords. The new RTA legislation protects tenants with a new, stronger process landlords must follow before doing any type of renovation. The new process requires the landlord to apply to the RTB for an Order to End Tenancy and an Order of Possession of the units. As Part 6 of the City’s bylaw relied upon the old process, which required a Notice to End Tenancy, this change to the RTA makes Part 6 inoperative.


On November 15, 2021, the City of New Westminster repealed Part 6 of the City’s Business Regulations and Licensing (Rental Units) Bylaw. 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 inoperative. 
It is good public administration to have bylaws that are obsolete and do not serve a purpose repealed. The City is currently reviewing the new RTA provisions to determine what next steps, if any, are needed.  

WHAT should you do if you are a tenant who has received an eviction notice?

If you have received an eviction notice, contact the Residential Tenancy Branch at 604-660-1020 or .  
If you have questions about the City’s actions to protect tenants, contact the City of New Westminster’s Tenant Support Coordinator at 604-527-4603.


Additional information

  • When a landlord is acting in good faith, it means they honestly intend to renovate or repair the rental unit so extensively that it must be vacant. The landlord would not be acting in good faith if they are trying to evict the tenant so they can rent it to another tenant for more money without doing extensive renovations or repairs. Many types of renovations and repairs do not require vacant tenancy.
    Previously, the onus was on the tenant to prove the landlord acted in bad faith (e.g. did not move in a caretaker to the newly designated caretaker suite) and now the onus is on the landlord to prove they acted in good faith. If the landlord fails to prove they acted in good faith, the tenant is awarded 12 months’ rent. 
  • It has come to the City’s attention that some landlords are forcing tenancy agreements to end by creating obstacles for tenants to pay their rent (example: requiring a specific method of payment, such as an e-transfer, which some tenants may not have access to or by requiring a type of insurance that is difficult to find). 
    The terms of a tenancy agreement can only be changed if both parties (the landlord and the tenant/s) agree to them and sign an amendment to the tenancy agreement. A landlord cannot arbitrarily change the tenancy agreement and the tenant is not required to accept new terms. The landlord cannot force the tenant to sign an amendment agreement and if they try, the tenant should contact the RTB. Also, a tenant has the right to challenge any “unconscionable term” with the RTB (example: requiring rent be paid by e-transfer between 6 pm and 8 pm on Fridays). 
  • A reminder to tenants that fixed term tenancy agreements can no longer include a “vacate clause” requiring a tenant to move out at the end of the term unless, the tenancy agreement in question is a sublease agreement (i.e., if you are not the principal tenant) or, if the landlord(s) or landlord’s close family member(s) plan in good faith to occupy the rental unit. 
  • The Residential Tenancy Branch has a public education arm that will meet with community members. The number to call for this service is:
    By Phone:   604-660-1020 (Lower Mainland)
                         250-387-1602 (Victoria)
    By Email:                           
  • Zoning Amendment Bylaws No. 8123, 2019 and No. 8078, 2019

    What is Residential Rental Tenure Zoning?

    In July 2018, the Province enacted a new authority that empowers local governments to apply residential rental tenure zoning to protect rental units in existing and future apartment buildings, to increase the overall supply of rental housing in their communities. It can be applied to an area, a building, or units within a building which have a residential use. It does not apply to commercial buildings/ units. The zoning restricts the form of tenure (i.e. occupancy of the unit) to rental only, so residential units with this zoning cannot be occupied by the owner. The exception to this is where a unit is already occupied by an owner at the time that the zoning is put into place. In such a case the owner, and all future owners, would continue to have a right to occupy the residential unit.

    What are Bylaw No. 8123 and Bylaw No. 8078 about?

    On January 28, 2019 Council adopted Bylaw No. 8078, the purpose of which was to amend the zoning for six stratified rental properties and twelve unoccupied City-owned properties to restrict occupancy of multiple-unit residential buildings at these properties to rental tenure.

    Bylaw No. 8123 was adopted on June 10, 2019. This bylaw more clearly achieves the intent of the original bylaw by:

    • updating the definition of residential rental tenure
    • clearly indicating that the rental tenure zoning does not apply to commercial properties
    • revising the descriptions of the affected properties to ensure that changes in legal status, such as the cancellation of a strata plan, do not change the effect of the bylaw.

    This bylaw continues the residential rental tenure restrictions for the six stratified rental properties enacted through Bylaw No. 8078, and the further notification procedures and public hearing process for Bylaw No. 8123 also provides an opportunity to address incorrect information that was circulated by the City regarding the effect of the original bylaw on the ability of owners to transfer strata titled lots zoned for residential rental tenure.

    A Petition challenging the original bylaw was filed in BC Supreme Court, and the erroneous information about the marketing of individual strata lots is one of the grounds for the challenge. The City filed a response to the Petition, which concedes the inaccuracy of this information.

    On May 1, 2023 the British Columbia Court of Appeal released a decision upholding the City’s use of the residential rental tenure zoning power. In March 2021, the Supreme Court of British Columbia upheld the same challenged bylaws.

    Given that the bylaw has been upheld, Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 8123 will continue residential rental tenure restrictions for the six stratified rental properties. These units must remain rental-only and cannot be owner-occupied. This decision has broad-ranging implications for other municipalities, as it confirms that the residential rental zoning power may lawfully be used to preserve existing rental stock, even if the subject units are stratified.

    What was the reason for applying Residential Rental Tenure Zoning?

    In late 2018, it came to the City’s attention that a stratified building that appears to have operated as rental since its construction in the 1970s was being actively marketed for sale as units that purchasers could occupy themselves.

    Residential Rental Tenure Zoning is the only City-led action that can protect the rental tenure of stratified rental buildings, relieving some of the pressures from renoviction being faced by New Westminster tenants, who represent 44% of the population.

    The City was the first municipality to enact Residential Rental Tenure Zoning for this purpose. The use of this zoning to protect the subject residential rental units is a component of a larger Rental Housing Revitalization Initiative, endorsed by Council on January 14, 2019, in response to the city’s housing crisis. Buildings operated as rental tenure serve an important role in the community by providing primary rental housing stock with relatively more affordable housing, to households with varied income levels. Over time, existing rental buildings generally feature lower rents than new secured market rental buildings because of their age and the control of rent increases through the Residential Tenancy Act.

    How does this protect the rental units in the six stratified rental buildings?

    Records indicate the current and historic operation since construction of the six stratified buildings to be as rental tenure. The application of residential rental tenure zoning to these properties protects the recorded historic use of the residential units as rental housing by prohibiting owner occupancy, and restricting tenure to rental only. This applies to residential units in the existing buildings and in any future buildings constructed on the properties under current zoning entitlements.

    What were the reasons for choosing the properties?

    The six stratified rental properties are: 214 Agnes St, 211 Eleventh St, 514 Thirteenth St., 723 Twelfth St., 215 Tenth St., and 425 Twelfth St. The rationale for choosing these included:  

    • They fall outside of the City’s moratorium on the conversion of rental units to strata titled units.
    • Records indicate the current and historic operation since construction of the buildings to be as rental tenure, for time periods that range between 18 and 60 years.
    • They are categorized as rental buildings by the City and in federal and regional housing databases, such as CMCH’s Rental Housing Inventory
    • At least one of the buildings benefitted from federal rental housing funding that was available in the 1970s and 1980s

    The twelve undeveloped City owned properties are: 380 Thirteenth St, 232 Lawrence St, 200 Fenton St, and 350, 345, 358, 362, 366, 370, 374, 378, and 382 Fenton St. The rationale for choosing these included: 

    • The City is committed to leadership in housing.
    • The City is communicating its commitment to provide for safe, secure and affordable housing to residents, non-profit housing partners, and other funding partners.
    • The City has included these properties in a draft Memorandum of Understanding with BC Housing, for future consideration for development.

    Why were other properties with rental buildings not included?

    The City’s 1978 Moratorium on Strata Conversions policy protects the rental tenure of other existing non-stratified multiple unit rental buildings by prohibiting their future stratification. New purpose built rental buildings are protected through other legislated tools available to the City, such as Housing Agreements.

    What is the difference between stratified rental units and stratified condo units?

    In a stratified rental building, typically all units are owned by one owner and all of the units are rented to tenants, and not owner-occupied. These buildings are part of the City’s primary rental housing stock, as an ongoing and therefore relatively secure form of rental housing.

    In a stratified condominium building, typically each condo unit is individually owned and is either owner-occupied or rented to a tenant as part of the City’s secondary rental housing stock. This form of rental housing is less secure as owners may choose to occupy the unit at any time, subject to meeting Residential Tenancy Act requirements.

    What other things is the City doing to address the housing crisis?

    The City is seeking to implement a suite of policies and tools that are within its authority and financial capacity to address the need for additional affordable rental housing, renovictions, maintenance and protection of existing rental buildings, and rental replacement. The application of residential tenure zoning to six stratified rental buildings and 12 City-owned properties is one of these tools.

    Who can I contact if I have questions?  

    Claudia Freire
    Housing/Social Planner
    City of New Westminster
    Phone: 604- 527-4513

  • 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.

    Tenant Relocation Policy

  • 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.

    Tenants Resources and Rights Guide (ENGLISH)

    Tenants Resources and Rights Guide (PUNJABI)

    Tenants Resources and Rights Guide (CHINESE)

  • 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.

    Click here to view recent changes in the Residential Tenancy Act.

  • 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.

    Tenant Survival Guide

  • Questions can be directed to the Tenant Support Coordinator on 604-527-4603 at the City of New Westminster.