How protect yourself against “renoviction”

Published on February 21, 2023

It sounds like a made-up buzzword, but the term ‘renoviction’ has been gaining in use in recent years.

It combines the words ‘renovation’ and ‘eviction’ to create a term used when rental tenants are given a notice of eviction, not because of anything the tenant has done to break their rental terms, but because the landlord wants to renovate the property—usually so they can increase the rent.

Rents in BC can only be increased by 2% per year with the same tenant, but once that tenant is out of the dwelling, the landlord can set a new higher base price for a unit for the next tenant. The excuse of needing to do renovations on the unit became so common that ‘renoviction’ entered the lexicon.

It’s a worrying trend in an already turbulent rental market, but there are ways you as a tenant can protect yourself if you find yourself in this situation.

Your rights as a tenant

A tenant is not beholden to the whims of a landlord, you have specific rights under the BC Residential Tenancy Act. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your rights as well as the landlord’s rights. Also make sure to read your rental agreement before you sign it. 

Rules are rules

The BC government made changes to the Residential Tenancy Act to address the rise in renovictions in 2021. Four requirements need to be met before a landlord can evict tenants to do renovations:

  • the landlord has all the necessary permits and approvals required by law and intends in good faith to renovate or repair the rental unit(s). 
  • the renovations or repairs require the unit(s) to be vacant.
  • the renovations or repairs are necessary to prolong or sustain the use of the rental unit(s) or the building where the rental unit(s) are located.
  • the only reasonable way to achieve the necessary vacancy is to end the tenancy agreement.

If these are met, then a landlord can apply for an order of possession to end tenancy. If this does happen, they must give four months notice to their tenant. If the requirements are not met, then they cannot force tenants out to do renovations.

Do I need to be evicted?

Many renovations can be done without ending a tenancy. Painting, replacing flooring or installing new cabinets can be done while a unit is occupied. It’ll likely be a pain for both the tenants and the renovator for a few days, but it’s not necessary for a unit to be empty.

However, if the renovations will make it unsafe to live in the dwelling, like extensive asbestos remediation, or will leave the unit without essential services, like running water or power, then the tenancy will likely need to end.

What to do if you get a renoviction notice

If your landlord hands you an eviction notice to do renovations without meeting these requirements, then you should look into obtaining legal advice. A lawyer can help you determine if your landlord is in compliance with the law and if they have the right to evict you. 

In Conclusion

There’s a lot of issues with the rental market, be it with the lack of housing and the dearth of affordable units, but if you’re looking to get out of being a renter and get into a place of your own, we can help.

If you’re looking into buying or selling your home, the Mayne Brothers have over 40 years combined experience in the Central Okanagan and will help you navigate the housing market.

For more information, call 250-860-0303 any time, day or night.


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