Are You A Landlord? These New Tenancy Act Changes Will Affect You
On December 11, 2017, new rules which govern the relationship between landlords and tenants came into effect. What are the two key changes you need to be aware of?
- The ability of a landlord to end a tenancy
- The ability of a landlord to raise rent
Changes To Fixed Term Tenancies
Under the previous rules, if a landlord and tenant entered into a fixed term tenancy, the landlord could require the tenant to vacate at the end of that term. Under the new rules, if the landlord and tenant enter into a fixed term tenancy, at the end of that term, the landlord and tenant must agree to a new fixed term tenancy instead of being able to require the tenant to vacate. If this does not occur, the tenancy will automatically convert to a month-to-month tenancy. These new rules apply to existing lease agreements, so if you are currently under a fixed term tenancy it is important that you carefully consider the steps you will take moving forward.
Changes To Allowable Rent Increases
Historically, if a continuous tenant resides in a property, a landlord can only raise that tenant’s rent by a limited allowable percentage (as posted on the Residential Tenancy website, for 2018 it is 4%), and such an increase may only take place once every 12 months. For example, if a tenant is paying rent in a property that is sold to a new landlord, that new landlord is bound to the rent the tenant is currently paying and can only increase the rent by the allowable percentage. Even if the rent is artificially low compared to surrounding properties its increases will be limited.
So What Does This Mean For You as a Landlord?
If you are in a position where you require a tenant to vacate a property immediately, you will find that there are very limited circumstances which allow for this to occur. You should be prepared to have a long-term tenant, taking the appropriate steps at the outset to protect yourself. If you are considering buying an investment property that already has a tenant, you should know how much rent that tenant is paying before committing to the property. Due to these new changes, you will be bound to the tenant’s current rent as the new landlord.
Overall, a property with an existing tenant may be a great opportunity for you, creating steady income stream without a rental gap. However, like any other investment, you need to do your research and protect yourself at each step of the purchasing and operating process. This includes knowing how these new changes will affect you. The Residential Tenancy Branch website is a great resource and a good place to start.
If you have further questions, contact Alison McLeod at Doak Shirreff Lawyers LLP today!
250.979.2561- [email protected]eff.com.
This content has been prepared to provide general information and is not to be relied on as legal advice or a legal opinion.