The British Columbia government announced that it has begun implementing the recommendations of the Rental Housing Task Force released last December. (See our post British Columbia to Revamp Rental Regulations.) These changes will be adopted in three stages.
Phase 1, according to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, includes a new enforcement agency that is working in conjunction with the Residential Tenancy Branch to investigate and censure landlords and tenants who are found to be serious or repeat offenders.
This enforcement unit currently has 21 active investigations, and recently issued its first administrative penalty against a landlord, according to a statement from the Ministry.
Another facet of Phase 1 is a campaign to reduce the number of arbitration cases through public education. Both Landlord BC and the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre will receive support to carry out that effort.
“To make renting work better for everyone, we need to make sure both renters and landlords know their rights under the law and have a place to go when there’s an issue with those rights,” Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing says, adding that the government wishes to create a rental environment where there are no surprises.
The Ministry also seeks to improve coordination with local governments to address specific issues such as “renovictions” — displacing tenants or terminating tenancies for major property renovations. A new local government liaison will be positioned within the Residential Tenancy Branch to help support communities in tackling the challenges unique to their situations.
The government also reports that it has invested in the Residential Tenancy Branch to reduce call wait times and is working on a new case management system.
Phase 2 presumably also will be focused on administrative remedies and is expected to be announced before the end of 2019. Legislative changes, including cementing the rules for terminating tenancies for renovations, Phase 3, are expected in 2020.
To learn more, visit the Residential Tenancy Branch.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.