"Renovictions"

"Renoviction" is a term used in British Columbia to describe an eviction that is carried out to renovate or repair a rental unit.

Most renovations or repairs can be carried out without ending tenancies, and with only minor disruption to tenants.

For example, cosmetic renovations such as repainting, replacing flooring, installing new kitchen cabinets and counter tops can almost always be done without ending a tenancy.  Sometimes however, renovations or repairs are so extensive it would not be possible to carry them out while the rental unit is occupied.

This page is about the requirements to end a tenancy for extensive renovations or repairs.

Section 49 of the Residential Tenancy Act establishes three basic requirements to end a tenancy for renovations or repairs:

  1. the landlord must have the necessary permits and approvals before giving notice to end tenancy
  2. the landlord must intend, in good faith, to renovate or repair the rental unit
  3. the renovations or repairs must be so extensive that they require the rental unit to be vacant

If the above requirements are met, a landlord can give the tenant a Four Month Notice to End Tenancy.

Renovations or repairs that are so extensive they require the rental unit to be vacant almost always require permits. Permits for renovations or repairs fall under broad categories including building, demolition and plumbing permits. These are obtained through local governments.

Landlords may also need electrical and gas permits. In general, the BC Safety Authority issues electrical and gas permits, however, some local governments may issue these permits.

Check with the local government where the rental unit is located to find out their requirements for all permits and inspections.

If the rental unit is in a strata corporation, there may be permits and approvals issued by the strata corporation that must be in place before a rental unit can be renovated or repaired.

 

What does "good faith" mean? 

When you are acting in good faith, it means you are being honest and not trying to deceive anyone and you don't have an ulterior motive. You intend to do what you say you are going to do.

When a landlord is acting in good faith, it means they honestly intend to renovate or repair the rental unit so extensively that it must be vacant. The landlord would not be acting in good faith if they are trying to evict the tenant so they can rent it to another tenant for more money without doing extensive renovations or repairs.

Claiming that renovations or repairs do not require permits may also raise the question of good faith because extensive renovations or repairs almost always require permits. If there is evidence that the landlord ended other tenancies for renovations or repairs and did not carry out the renovations or repairs, this may also suggest the landlord is not acting in good faith.

 

What renovations or repairs would require vacancy? 

Vacancy could be required if the renovations or repairs:

  • make it unsafe for the tenants to live there (for example, the work requires extensive asbestos remediation)
  • result in the prolonged loss of an essential service or facility (for example, the electrical service to the building is being severed for several weeks)

Stripping a rental unit down to the studs to replace insulation, electrical wiring and plumbing is an example of extensive renovations or repairs that probably requires the rental unit to be vacant. 

 

What renovations or repairs would NOT require vacancy?

Renovations or repairs that result in temporary, intermittent, or short-term loss services like water, hydro or heat, or disruption to the tenant like construction noise do not usually require the rental unit to vacant. For example, re-piping an apartment building can usually be done by shutting off the water to each rental unit and carrying out the renovations or repairs one rental unit at a time. Vacancy is almost never required for renovations or repairs that are cosmetic, such as painting walls, replacing doors, and replacing baseboards.

The table below gives some more information on common types of renovations or repairs and whether they are likely to require the rental unit to be vacant. Keep in mind however, that the extent of work required for each type of renovation or repair can vary based on building materials, other planned work, etc.

Common Renovations or Repairs
Type of Renovation or Repair Disruption to tenants Requires Vacancy?
Electrical
Electrical service replacement Usually minimal Unlikely
Replacing receptacles and switches Usually minimal Unlikely
Rewiring a circuit Usually minimal Unlikely
Rental unit re-wire May be significant May require vacancy
Heating
Boiler/furnace replacement Usually minimal Unlikely
Hydronic heating system upgrades Usually minimal Unlikely
Electric baseboard heater replacement Usually minimal Unlikely
Other Mechanical
Elevator modernization Usually minimal Unlikely
Fire sprinkler installation/replacement May be significant May require vacancy
Plumbing
Re-pipe Usually minimal Unlikely
Replacing faucets and fixtures Usually minimal Unlikely
Replacing bathtubs/toilets Usually minimal Unlikely
Structural/Exterior
Exterior window/glass door replacement Usually minimal Unlikely
Roof replacement Usually minimal Unlikely
Building envelope repair/remediation/ Usually minimal Unlikely
Exterior painting Usually minimal Unlikely
Balcony repair/remediation Usually minimal Unlikely
Seismic upgrades May be significant May require vacancy
Interior
Replacing cabinets/vanities/countertops Usually minimal Unlikely
Replacing backsplashes Usually minimal Unlikely
Interior painting Usually minimal Unlikely
Replacing interior doors Usually minimal Unlikely
Replacing flooring/baseboards Usually minimal Unlikely
Replacing appliances Usually minimal Unlikely
Adding appliances Usually minimal Unlikely
Interior wall/ceiling demolition Likely Significant Likely Requires vacancy

You can dispute the notice if you think the landlord does not have the required permits and approvals, the landlord is not acting in good faith, the renovations or repairs are not extensive enough to require vacant possession, or the required period of vacancy is brief and you are willing to move out for that period.

You can also accept the notice and move out. 

If you are going to dispute the notice to end tenancy, you have to make an application for dispute resolution to the Residential Tenancy Branch within 30 days of receiving the notice. After 30 days, the law deems that you have conclusively accepted the tenancy is ending and you must move out by the effective date.

Tenants are under no obligation to accept a buyout.

Buyouts are not prohibited in the Residential Tenancy Act. If a landlord and tenant mutually agree to end the tenancy with a buyout, the tenancy ends under section 44, which means you aren't entitled to receive any compensation that would be required under the Act if the tenancy was ended with a Four Month Notice.

 

 

What are the compensation requirements under the Act? 

A tenant who receives a Four Month Notice to End Tenancy is entitled to receive an amount that is the equivalent of one month's rent payable under the tenancy agreement.

Landlords and tenants should also be aware that the landlord must (except in extenuating circumstances) pay the tenant an additional amount equal to 12 times the monthly rent payable under the tenancy agreement if the landlord does not renovate or repair the rental unit in the manner specified on the Four Month Notice, or they don't begin working on the renovations or repairs within a reasonable amount of time after the effective date of that notice. 

 

 

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: July 8, 2019

Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch