Changes to Residential Tenancy Act Obligations
The British Columbia Government has made a recent change to the Residential Tenancy Act that South Okanagan Property Management wishes to advise to our landlord clients, particularly our snowbird, winter-term and short-term clientele.
Currently, with our snowbird, winter-term or short-term clientele, a vacate clause is used to ensure tenants move out at the end of the fixed term. If the Owner intends that the tenant will rent the property on a fixed-term tenancy agreement and the tenant must vacate at the end of the term, the Owner must be an individual, rather than a corporation. Further, only one of the following individuals may move in: the Owner; the parent, spouse or child of the Owner; or the parent or child of the Owner’s spouse. The individual who moves in must occupy the Property at the end of the tenancy agreement for at least six months. If the Owner fails to comply with these requirements, the Owner is liable to pay the former tenant an amount equal to 12 times the monthly rent payable under the tenancy agreement.
The change to the legislation being the time frame that the owner must occupy. Previously the time frame was a grey area, now the legislation states the owner must occupying the unit for, at minimum, 6 months, before re-renting or advertising the property for rental. Occupancy can be part time, such as weekends only.
A potential solution is to issue a Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy with the tenant before their lease ends. This agreement cannot be signed at the beginning of tenancy. Once this document is signed you are predominantly protected that there will be no complications from the tenant or future issues. The tenants will continue occupying for the remainder of their lease and vacate on the appropriate end date. Landlords are then able to use the property for the time period of your choice and re-rent the premises. The process using the Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy will need to be continued in future fixed term tenancies. Be advised: the Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy alternative is still a risk to landlords but is a viable option.
If the tenant does not sign the Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy, they must still move out on the fixed term end date, but you cannot rent your property for 6 months. Furthermore, if the tenant(s) see a rental advertisement for the property within those 6 months, or can prove the property has been re-rented during the 6 months period, they can file for Arbitration for a Monetary Order of 12 months rent compensation.
We have diarized all tenancies that must have Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy forms completed and will keep all landlords apprised of the situation. Our tenant screening process is incredibly thorough and we do not wish to deter you from renting your unit, as 99% of tenancies we handle are successful and run incredibly smooth for both landlord and resident.
Our team is constantly keeping abreast of any changes in the industry, adapting and refining our processes as necessary, and using our 12 years of management experience to protect the value and return of your investment.
We will also be reaching out to all clients whose management agreements do not include wording relating to these changes, as our office policy now requires this, due to disclosure requirements.
We’re extremely grateful that you’ve been a part of our journey as a company. If you want to explore any of the above information in greater depth or have any questions do not hesitate to reach out to any of our team at anytime.
**Disclaimer: The Owner acknowledges and agrees that the Owner: has reviewed and understands the Owner’s obligations under the Residential Tenancy Act of British Columbia; has consulted the advisors and professionals the Owner determines are appropriate in this regard; and is not relying on the Manager to give legal advice regarding these obligations. The above is for general information purposes only; the contact of this statement is subject to change as a result of experience, new information, changes in process requirements and the availability of resources.