BC Government Announces New Measures to Protect Renters

Date 3 Apr, 2024

On Tuesday, the BC Government announced a new bill that addresses several recommendations made in FIRST UNITED’s law reform platform “Everyone Needs a Home: Solutions for Preventing Homelessness, Evictions, and Displacement.”

We were pleased when BC Housing Minister Ravi Khalon announced proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) that include a number of renter protections, specifically in response to the fraudulent use of “landlord’s use” evictions, including:

  • “Landlord’s use” evictions will no longer be allowed in purpose-built rental buildings with at least 5 units.
  • Landlords will no longer be allowed to charge extra rent when a tenant household welcomes a baby or child. This will now be an offence.
  • Landlords who evict for “landlord’s use” will be required to occupy the unit for a minimum of 12 months.
  • Landlords will be prohibited from giving frivolous notices to end tenancy.
  • Landlords will be required to use a web portal to create Notices to End Tenancy for personal occupancy.
  • The dispute deadline for tenants who receive “landlord’s use” eviction notices will increase from 15 days to 30 days.

The province’s quick response to prevent fraudulent “landlord’s use” evictions is recognition that this is a major issue that contributes to BC’s housing crisis. The prevalence of “landlord’s use” evictions and the link to displacement and homelessness were highlighted in our BC Eviction Mapping reports, which included information from over 800 survey respondents who experienced eviction in the province. Our law reform platform, released in February 2024, included data from our eviction mapping project and outlined evidence-based recommendations and solutions to prevent homelessness.

“With the pace of these announcements, so soon after the data and the report, and the pressure and advocacy, we’re pleased with their response being as urgent as we believe the issue is,” Amanda Burrows, Executive Director, was quoted as saying in The Vancouver Sun’s article on the bill.

Overall, the amendments are positive steps toward better rights and housing security for the over one million people in BC who rent homes.

We at FIRST UNITED consider this a victory for tenants across the province. It emphasizes the importance of public advocacy and our law reform work. Thank you to the over 800 people who shared their eviction stories with us. We couldn’t have done it without our supporters, our team and board support. We would also like to thank the 600 people who signed our petition calling on Minister Kahlon to prioritize the reduction of bad faith evictions.

We recognize that not every issue we outlined was addressed, including the request for vacancy control. There is still work to do and we will continue to advocate for evidence-based policy changes to prevent homelessness and displacement because housing is a human right. We’re encouraged by the progress that’s being made and we know that together, we can create meaningful change.

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