"Renovictions"

Effective July 1, 2021, under new legislation, if a landlord wants to end a tenancy for extensive renovations or repairs, they need to apply for an Order of Possession from the Residential Tenancy Branch. There will be a dispute resolution proceeding where an arbitrator will decide if ending the tenancy is the only way to complete this work.
Any notice received on or after July 1, 2021 is invalid and the landlord must end the tenancy under the new process by applying to the Residential Tenancy Branch.

  • Landlords can apply here

"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 49.2 of the Residential Tenancy Act establishes four basic requirements to end a tenancy for renovations or repairs:

  1. 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) 
  2. the renovations or repairs require the unit(s) to be vacant
  3. 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
  4. the only reasonable way to achieve the necessary vacancy is to end the tenancy agreement

If the above requirements are met, a landlord can apply to the RTB for an order of possession to end a tenancy. There will be hearing where the landlord and tenant can provide their evidence and the arbitrator will make a decision. 

A landlord can serve a 4 Month Notice to End a Tenancy if they are going:
  1. demolish the rental unit;
  2. convert the residential property to strata lots under the Strata Property Act;
  3. convert the residential property into a not for profit housing cooperative under the Cooperative Association Act;
  4. convert the rental unit for use by a caretaker, manager or superintendent of the residential property; or
  5. convert the rental unit to a non-residential use.

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

There will be a dispute resolution hearing. The landlord and the tenant will have the opportunity to participate. The arbitrator will weigh that evidence and decide whether or not to allow the landlord to end a tenancy. If the tenancy ends the tenant will have 4 months to vacate the rental unit. 

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? 

When a landlord is granted an order of possession for renovations or repairs the tenant is entitled to receive an amount that is equivalent of one month’s rent payable under the tenancy agreement. If a tenant receives a Four Month Notice to End Tenancy for demolition or conversion they are also entitled to receive one month’s rent. 

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. 

After July 1, 2021 the only reason a landlord can serve a Four Month Notice to End Tenancy is for demolition or conversion of a rental unit.

Learn more about Four Month Notice to End Tenancy <link to https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/ending-a-tenancy/landlord-notice/four-month-notice

When a landlord applies to end a tenancy for extensive renovations or repairs in a rental building with 5 or more rental units, the tenant has a right of first refusal. To exercise the right, the tenant must give the landlord a Tenant Notice: Exercising Right of First Refusal form before they vacate the rental unit. 

When a tenant exercises their right of first refusal, the landlord has to give the tenant:

If the tenant does not enter into a tenancy agreement for the rental unit that has undergone the renovations or repairs on or before the availability date, the tenant has no further rights in respect of the rental unit.

If a tenant has given a Tenant Notice: Exercising Right of First Refusal and the landlord does not comply with the requirements (except if extenuating circumstances prevented the landlord from complying), the landlord must pay the tenant an amount that is the equivalent of 12 times the monthly rent payable under the previous tenancy agreement.

 

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 5, 2021

Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch