The BC government has introduced Bill 7, which if passed into law, would extend the current ban on rent increases and impose a new process that landlords must undergo to initiate evictions related to renovations.
In March 2020, the Government of BC announced a freeze on rent increases due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tenants. It was subsequently extended to July 2021 and under Bill 7, the rent freeze would be further extended to January 1, 2022. Landlords seeking to end their tenancy agreements at that time will be required to serve new notices to tenants in September. Additionally, beginning in 2022, annual rent increases would be limited to the rate of inflation.
Eviction for Renovations
Bill 7 requires landlords to apply and receive approval from the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) before they can issue notices to evict for renovations. Landlords will be required to show that renovations are substantial and cannot be completed unless the unit is vacant. This application process would replace the requirement to serve a notice to end tenancy. However, landlords will be required to serve tenants with a notice of proceedings to inform them that an application has been made and when the hearing is scheduled. If approved, the tenancy will end four months after the order is made by the RTB. Landlords will still be bound by protections for tenants that came into effect in 2018, including requirements for compensation and the first right of refusal.
Other changes that have been proposed includes expansions to the penalties that can be imposed by the RTB's Compliance and Enforcement Unit (including fines for giving false or misleading information) as well as the grounds under which arbitrator decisions can be challenged.
If passed, Bill 7 will come into effect on July 1, 2021.