BC Tenancy Act

BC, as of January 1, 2004, has a newly revised Tenancy Act. And while I’m no expert on the tenancy act, it seems like this act is geared to make landlords happy, with no real regard for tenants. First and foremost, Landlords can now raise rent by 4.6 % per year, no questions asked, no applications required. Previously, my understanding was that if a landlord wanted to raise the rent of an existing tenant, s/he had to prove significant improvements to the suite, or put in an application to the housing board. Now, however, even the least cared-for, shittiest of shitholes can have an annual increase of nearly 5% (it’s actually tied to the consumer price index + 2%, I believe). Second, when moving out, there’s a new walkthrough evaluation form. And new, the onus is on the tenant to have the landlord do the review and sign off. If the tenant does not do this they automatically forfeit their damage deposit (coversely, if a landlord doesn’t do a walkthrough at the beginning, they forfeit the right to claim damage upon leaving). On the good side, there is now a standardised half-month’s rent pet damage deposit, which will hopefully encourage more landlords to allow rentals to have pets. There’s probably other interesting changes, but I only know of what I heard on the radio, and what I read in this fairly positive look at the new act (not surprising given which news organization it comes from). There’s more info in this fact sheet provided by the government.

4 Replies to “BC Tenancy Act”

  1. there are sadly very few benefits to tenants in this revision- the ones that the “positive spin” camp have been publicizing endlessly, which is why they are the most familiar. The whole goddamn thing is birdcage liner, IMHO. Basically, the tenant loses a whole whack of rights, the landlord gains them. A landlord can increase rent by 4.6% per year.(calculate this on your own rent to see exacly what this means over a 5yr period, then see what your income was for the past 5 years. Sound fair? Wasn’t for me!!)As a tenant, you can’t dispute this in any way, shape or form. You USED to be able to- then the onus was on the landlord to prove that there had been tax increases, utility increases or improvements to the property that would justify rent increases. Now? Well, they can (and likely will) increase your rent by almost 5%/yr EVEN IF YOUR SUITE IS FALLING APART. Moreover, they can apply for ADDITIONAL increases, over and above the 4.6%, if they can prove there have been increases in their expenses as outlined above.
    The fact that they have announced these changes with a 2 WEEK period between announcement and implementation, especially over Christmas, pretty much insures that nothing much can or will be done about it before it becomes law. As an individual who lives in a suite that: 1)leaked profusely on-and-off for the first 2 years of tenancy; 2) although the leaks have been repaired, still lives with two 8-foot cracks and several other smaller cracks, poorly patched, water-damaged, and unpainted; and sustained a $50/mo increase as a direct result of roof repairs THAT DID NOT FIX THE PROBLEM, (it has been repaired since, but under the current legislation, they could not have another increase until 2004) well, I can say that the BC government has done it again. Thanks, guys!

    there are MANY other aspects of this that are extremely disturbing- please check the Tenant’s Rights Coalition website at http://www.tenants.bc.ca/
    for some really interesting reading- that isn’t slanted towards how !absolutely wonderful! these changes will be for us.

  2. there are sadly very few benefits to tenants in this revision- the ones that the “positive spin” camp have been publicizing endlessly, which is why they are the most familiar. The whole goddamn thing is birdcage liner, IMHO. Basically, the tenant loses a whole whack of rights, the landlord gains them. A landlord can increase rent by 4.6% per year.(calculate this on your own rent to see exacly what this means over a 5yr period, then see what your income was for the past 5 years. Sound fair? Wasn’t for me!!)As a tenant, you can’t dispute this in any way, shape or form. You USED to be able to- then the onus was on the landlord to prove that there had been tax increases, utility increases or improvements to the property that would justify rent increases. Now? Well, they can (and likely will) increase your rent by almost 5%/yr EVEN IF YOUR SUITE IS FALLING APART. Moreover, they can apply for ADDITIONAL increases, over and above the 4.6%, if they can prove there have been increases in their expenses as outlined above.
    The fact that they have announced these changes with a 2 WEEK period between announcement and implementation, especially over Christmas, pretty much insures that nothing much can or will be done about it before it becomes law. As an individual who lives in a suite that: 1)leaked profusely on-and-off for the first 2 years of tenancy; 2) although the leaks have been repaired, still lives with two 8-foot cracks and several other smaller cracks, poorly patched, water-damaged, and unpainted; and sustained a $50/mo increase as a direct result of roof repairs THAT DID NOT FIX THE PROBLEM, (it has been repaired since, but under the current legislation, they could not have another increase until 2004) well, I can say that the BC government has done it again. Thanks, guys!

    there are MANY other aspects of this that are extremely disturbing- please check the Tenant’s Rights Coalition website at http://www.tenants.bc.ca/
    for some really interesting reading- that isn’t slanted towards how !absolutely wonderful! these changes will be for us.

  3. Perhaps off topic?

    Is a rental-apartment bulding caretaker allowed to open a tenant’s postal mail box (without being asked to do so, without approval?)

  4. Perhaps off topic?

    Is a rental-apartment bulding caretaker allowed to open a tenant’s postal mail box (without being asked to do so, without approval?)

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