On March 25, 2020, the provincial government introduced some changes to the Residential Tenancy Act, which will be in effect for the duration of the provincial state of emergency.
Effective as of March 25, evictions are not allowed, and notices to end tenancy cannot be issued except for in very special circumstances, such as the tenant seriously jeopardizing the health or safety of the landlord or another occupant, or putting the landlord’s property at significant risk. A landlord cannot give notice to end tenancy due to non-payment of rent, cause, or landlord or purchaser use.
This means that someone selling a property with a tenant in it cannot give notice to the tenant requiring them to vacate the property in order for a purchaser to move in (or, if they do give notice to end a tenancy, the tenant can ignore the notice as it is of no force or effect).
However, a notice to end tenancy given prior to March 30th will still be considered a valid notice (provided of course that it was given properly). These new rules only apply to notices given after March 30th. For a notice given prior to March 30th, a tenant can file a notice for dispute resolution (as they always could) or can accept the notice and the tenancy will end.
If a tenant does not vacate the property as they were required to under a validly given notice to end tenancy, the landlord can apply for an order of possession, which is a court order requiring them to vacate. However, the order of possession cannot be enforced until after the state of emergency has ended, unless under exceptional circumstances such as the tenant seriously jeopardizing the health and safety of the landlord or another occupant.
For more information on these recent changes, the Government of B.C.’s website contains a detailed discussion: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/covid-19.
More information can also be obtained by contacting the Residential Tenancy Branch at 1-800-665-8779.
Author: Jane Otterstrom
This information is general in nature only. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice. To learn more about your legal needs, please contact our office at (250)448-2637 or any of our lawyers practicing in the area of real estate law at the following:
Una Gabie: firstname.lastname@example.org Jennette Vopicka: email@example.com Jane Otterstrom: firstname.lastname@example.org
Danielle (Dani) Brito: email@example.com Sasha Platz: firstname.lastname@example.org