British Columbia Renters are at Risk of Eviction
Wake up, renters! You too could be evicted!

 

Know your rights and take action now

Before signing a voluntary rent increase, agreeing to move to another suite at higher rent, or accepting an eviction notice for renovations, seek legal advice
or contact :

Tenants Resource and
Advisory Centre (TRAC):

604-255-0546
(in Vancouver)

1-800-665-1185
(outside Vancouver)

Join us in demanding that the Liberal government stop these unconscionable evictions now.

 Go to our website at www.rentersatrisk.ca
and get involved before
you become the next
evicted casualty.

 

 

Other Resources:

Contact Your MLA

West End Residents Association

 

Renters-At-Risk is sounding the alarm. An invisible rental crisis is occurring, forcing renters from their homes and their communities. Wake up, renters!

Building-by-building throughout the Lower Mainland, tenants of all ages and incomes are being evicted by greedy landlords eager to take advantage of the hot rental market and excessive housing prices. Using loopholes in the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), landlords are forcing renters from their homes, in order to obtain massive rent increases far beyond the legislated 4% per year rent increases. And, they’re getting away with it.

How? Under the pretext that your suite needs to be vacant for renovations. But don’t be fooled. In most cases, the renovations are cosmetic repairs, and a cunning ploy to get existing tenants out, and new tenants in—at up to double the rent! If you think these tactics won’t be used in your neighbourhood, think again! Thanks to the BC government’s unbalanced rental legislation, it is happening in communities from the West End – to Richmond – to Kitsilano – to New West – and your building could be next. It is happening every month to neighbours in your community—and you likely don’t even know it.

Read further and learn how to protect yourself from being unlawfully evicted from your home and your community

How are landlords getting around rental caps?

Under current tenancy law, landlords can increase rents of ‘occupied’ suites by 2% plus cost of living (4% in 2007). But once a suite is vacated, landlords can re-rent the suite at any price. More and more landlords are exploiting ‘loopholes’ in the law to obtain exorbitant rent increases above rental caps, using tactics that include:

  • Rent Increase ‘Proposal’ Letters: Landlords are getting
    tenants to sign voluntary rent increases higher than 4%.
    Intimidated tenants, unaware of their rights, are signing these letters for fear of losing their homes.
  • Evictions for Renovations: If tenants don’t agree to
    ‘voluntary’ rent increases, landlords serve them with eviction notices for renovations, or offers to move to renovated suits at higher rent. While landlords can end tenancies if renovations require the unit to be vacant, this is often an excuse to evict entire buildings and fast-track massive rent increases.

Will the BC Government amend the loopholes?

If you think the BC government will protect you, think again. Despite on-going mass evictions across the Lower Mainland, Rich
Coleman, Minister of Housing, thinks everything’s just fine. He refuses to amend the legislation to protect renters in BC, and he’s on record as saying that if tenants dispute their evictions, government will leave them “to the arbitrators to deal with.”

But guess what? The Liberals closed most Residential Tenancy Offices across BC, leaving just two offices to serve BC’s one million tenants, and only one office to serve landlord/tenant disputes in the entire Lower Mainland. That’s not protection.

Alarmingly, this problem is invisible! The government does not keep
track of these mass evictions, and renters in BC are being quietly
driven out of their homes and communities.

Will the Residential Tenancy Office protect tenants?

If you think the RTO will protect you, think again. Tenants who
challenge their evictions at the RTO usually lose their cases. Dispute Resolution Officers are unjustly siding with landlords in most eviction-for-renovation cases, despite recent court rulings in tenants’ favours.

Who IS protecting tenants?

The courts. Because of BC’s unbalanced legislation and poor RTO
decisions, tenants are turning to the courts – and winning.
BC Supreme Court Judges, recognizing that RTO Officers are
misinterpreting the intent of the legislation, are overturning their
decisions. In the landmark 2007 Supreme Court winning decision of
some West End tenants (Berry and Kloet v. British Columbia), The
Honourable Justice Williamson stated:

  • “The purpose of Section 49(6) is not to give landlords a means for evicting tenants; rather, it is to ensure that landlords are able to carry out renovations.”
  • “It could not have been the intent of the legislature to provide such a ‘loophole’ for landlords.”

What must be done?

The Renters-at-Risk Campaign is demanding that the provincial
government amend Section 49 of the RTA by giving tenants the right of first refusal.

The right of first refusal gives tenants the option of returning to
their suites after the renovations are completed, at the same rent asthey were paying before.This would not affect existing provisions in
the Act that allows landlords to apply for above rental cap increases when major renovations are needed. This is the only way to restore fairness and balance in the rental legislation in an increasingly tight rental market.

It works in Ontario, and it can work here.