Roof repairs. Asbestos removal. Window replacements. When a
British Columbia landlord faces repairs or renovations in a rental
building, the decision to evict an existing tenant to conduct the
repairs or renovations can be difficult. When can a landlord evict
a tenant to conduct repairs or renovations? What kinds of repairs
or renovations are insufficient to warrant an eviction? Before
issuing an eviction notice, landlords should prepare to
Review the Residential Tenancy Act
Landlords wishing to evict for repairs or renovations should
read the Residential Tenancy Act, S.B.C. 2002, c. 78.
Under section 49(6) of the Act, landlords are permitted to
evict a tenant on two month's written notice for the purpose of
completing repairs or renovations. However, not all repairs or
renovations are treated equal. The law requires that
before issuing a "2 Month Notice to End
Tenancy", the landlord must have all of the necessary permits
required by law to conduct the repairs or renovations, and the
landlord must intend in good faith to renovate or repair in a
manner that requires the suite to be vacant. The
landlord is also obligated to compensate the tenant the equivalent
of one month's rent on or before the move-out date.
Estimate the Time to Repair or Renovate
The Courts have recognized a tenant's right to continue
their tenancy and temporarily relocate during work that requires
vacant possession. In the case of Berry and Kloet v. British
Columbia (Residential Tenancy Act, Arbitrator), 2007 BCSC 257,
the Court recognized two dimensions to the vacant possession
requirement: first, the renovations must be so extensive that they
require an empty suite; and second, the landlord
must prove that the only manner to achieve an
empty suite is by terminating the tenancy. If a tenant is willing
to empty the rental suite for the duration of the work, then a 2
Month Notice to End Tenancy is unlikely to be upheld.
Prepare the 2 Month Notice to End Tenancy
In addition to the above-noted requirements, landlords must
issue the 2 Month Notice to End Tenancy on the prescribed form
published by the Residential Tenancy Branch. If a landlord does not
use the prescribed form, then the eviction will likely be
Address Tenant Queries
Landlords who issue a 2 Month Notice to End Tenancy can expect
questions from their tenants regarding the nature and scope of the
proposed work. As a result, in conjunction with issuing a 2 Month
Notice to End Tenancy, best practices include providing tenants
with an information package detailing the anticipated work and the
reasons behind the proposed repairs or renovations. By keeping the
door open for information requests, landlords can often close the
matter off to future disputes.
Identify Opportunities for Dispute Resolution
In the event that a tenant disputes a 2 Month Notice to End
Tenancy, landlords should consider opportunities for early
resolution. A dispute resolution hearing with the Residential
Tenancy Branch is considered to be a last resort for landlords and
tenants to resolve their disputes. If alternative remedies exist
that would facilitate the repairs/renovations in the suite without
evicting the tenant, or if the landlord and tenant can make a
mutual agreement to end tenancy that facilitates alternative
move-out arrangements (e.g. the provision of additional moving time
or compensation to the tenant), then these options should be
explored before going to the Residential Tenancy Branch.
Repair or Renovate the Suite within a Reasonable Period of
Finally, once a tenant moves out, landlords have an obligation
to deliver on their demand. If a landlord does not take steps
toward the purpose for which the eviction notice was given within a
reasonable period of time or if the suite is not used for
the stated purpose for at least 6 months, then a tenant is entitled
to additional compensation equivalent to two months' rent. As
landlords are well aware, the cost of repairs and renovations can
sometimes go over budget – don't let this expense become
a part of your final bill.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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