Are you being threatened with eviction? Call TRAC – Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre – Mon. to Thurs. – 9am – 5pm – In Vancouver call 604-255-0546. Or outside the lower mainland: 1-800-665-1185
Rent Increase Policy Guideline document GL37
Judge Williamson’s Supreme Court ruling of February 12 2007 in the case of Berry and Kloet v. British Columbia (Residential Tenancy Act, Arbitrator) and Hollyburn Properties
NOTE: On February 12, 2007, Judge Williamson ruled that because the tenants were cooperative and agreed to move out (temporarily empty the rental unit/s) while the landlords effected the cosmetic renovations they wished to do, the tenants’ lease is not broken but continues as before. Had the tenants refused to cooperate, the landlords could have evicted them.
Following this ruling, in favour of tenants, dated February 12, 2007, the Ministry of Housing added wording to the Rent Increase Policy Guideline in August 2007, enabling landlords to apply to the RTO (residential tenancy office of the Ministry of Housing) for a rent increase above and beyond the allowable increase for the year, at least three months in advance, under very clear and specific conditions, e.g. they cannot target only a few units in the complex, but must submit to the RTO a comprehensive, detailed, plan for renovation of the entire building complex, naming tenants and specifying the rent the “now” pay, and submitting quotations from the contractor for the renovation of the entire building.
Landlords must submit full copy of this application to all tenants in the building, with supporting documents, advising them of the date of the “hearing” at the RTO, at least three months in advance, to enable tenants to be present at the hearing and prepare themselves with counter-arguments and proofs to refute additional rent increases.
If landlords send notices to tenants without going through this procedures, the notices are illegal. Tenants should immediately see a Dispute Resolution Officer of the RTO, with the notice in hand and ask the RTO to declare such notices illegal, insisting that the landlord follow the above described procedure according to the government’s guidelines and regulations.
Rulings of The Honourable Madam Justice Levine and The Honourable Mr. Justice Thackray” on the Allman vs. Amacon Properties can be read here:
Residential Tenancy Office: rto.gov.bc.ca
Residential Tenancy Act
Residential Tenancy Regulation
Part 4 — Rent Increases
22 Annual rent increase
23 Additional rent increase
Additional Rent Increase for Residential Tenancy
Additional rent increase
23 (1) A landlord may apply under section 43 (3) of the Act [additional rent increase] if one or more of the following apply:
(a) after the rent increase allowed under section 22 [annual rent increase], the rent for the rental unit is significantly lower than the rent payable for other rental units that are similar to, and in the same geographic area as, the rental unit;
(b) the landlord has completed significant repairs or renovations to the residential property in which the rental unit is located that
(i) could not have been foreseen under reasonable circumstances, and
(ii) will not recur within a time period that is reasonable for the repair or renovation;
(c) the landlord has incurred a financial loss from an extraordinary increase in the operating expenses of the residential property;
(d) the landlord, acting reasonably, has incurred a financial loss for the financing costs of purchasing the residential property, if the financing costs could not have been foreseen under reasonable circumstances;
(e) the landlord, as a tenant, has received an additional rent increase under this section for the same rental unit.
(2) If the landlord applies for an increase under paragraph (1) (b), (c), or (d), the landlord must make a single application to increase the rent for all rental units in the residential property by an equal percentage.
(3) The director must consider the following in deciding whether to approve an application for a rent increase under subsection (1):
(a) the rent payable for similar rental units in the residential property immediately before the proposed increase is intended to come into effect;
(b) the rent history for the affected rental unit in the 3 years preceding the date of the application;
(c) a change in a service or facility that the landlord has provided for the residential property in which the rental unit is located in the 12 months preceding the date of the application;
(d) a change in operating expenses and capital expenditures in the 3 years preceding the date of the application that the director considers relevant and reasonable;
(e) the relationship between the change described in paragraph (d) and the rent increase applied for;
(f) a relevant submission from an affected tenant;
(g) a finding by the director that the landlord has contravened section 32 of the Act [obligation to repair and maintain];
(h) whether, and to what extent, an increase in costs with respect to repair or maintenance of the residential property results from inadequate repair or maintenance in a previous year;
(i) a rent increase or a portion of a rent increase previously approved under this section that is reasonably attributable to the cost of performing a landlord’s obligation that has not been fulfilled;
(j) whether the director has set aside a notice to end a tenancy within the 6 months preceding the date of the application;
(k) whether the director has found, in dispute resolution proceedings in relation to an application under this section, that the landlord has
(i) submitted false or misleading evidence, or
(ii) failed to comply with an order of the director for the disclosure of documents.
(4) In considering an application under subsection (1), the director may
(a) grant the application, in full or in part,
(b) refuse the application,
(c) order that the increase granted under subsection (1) be phased in over a period of time, or
(d) order that the effective date of an increase granted under subsection (1) is conditional on the landlord’s compliance with an order of the director respecting the residential property.
(5) If the total amount of the approved increase is not applied within 12 months of the date the increase comes into effect, the landlord must not carry forward the unused portion or add it to a future rent increase, unless the director orders otherwise under subsection (4).
[am. B.C. Reg. 234/2006, s. 18.]