The B.C. government has introduced legislative changes intended to support tenants fleeing family violence, reduce red tape for landlords and tenants and make it easier for members to terminate a strata corporation.
Proposed changes to the Residential Tenancy Act will allow for the early termination of a fixed-term tenancy, commonly known as a lease, by a tenant who is fleeing family violence or who has been accepted into a long-term care facility. This supports government’s commitment to a Violence-Free BC and supports vulnerable seniors.
A further change will allow landlords to repay security deposits by electronic transfer of funds, supporting the Province’s goal of reducing red tape and embracing changing technology.
B.C. is also proposing changes to the Strata Property Act to allow strata corporation members to terminate the corporation by an 80% vote. Currently, a unanimous vote is needed, making it extremely difficult to wind up a corporation in cases where a building is at the end of its life cycle or where strata members wish to sell their property for redevelopment.
The provincial government has consulted extensively on the proposed changes, which are widely supported by landlord and tenant groups and condominium owners’ associations.
Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing –
“We want to support the personal safety and health-care needs of people with fixed-term tenancy agreements, and also reduce red-tape for landlords. For strata owners, there’s a need to give them flexibility when their property reaches the end of its life cycle or when the strata members want to re-develop.”
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development –
“Fleeing a violent relationship can be difficult, and comes with a range of emotions and issues, including financial stress. These amendments will better help British Columbians who are fleeing violence by allowing them to sever their financial ties to their abusers earlier and begin the healing process.”
Darryl Plecas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for Seniors –
“A home is someone’s safe haven. These changes will allow seniors to feel secure in their living situations and more comfortable making the transition to the next stage of their journey.”
Tony Gioventu, executive director, Condominium Home Owners' Association –
“This will be a welcome change for condo owners in B.C. who are struggling with aging buildings that are now imposing extremely high costs for renewals, and are prevented from considering redevelopment offers because they cannot obtain a unanimous vote of the strata. A unanimous vote is virtually impossible in most strata corporations as it requires a vote in favour of the proposal by every owner. The provisions for an 80% vote that require the approval of the courts will ensure that the minority interests are still protected and the liquidation is beneficial for the strata as a collective, not just a focused interest group.”
For more information on residential tenancies in B.C., please visit: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies
For more information on strata housing in B.C., please visit http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/strata-housing
A backgrounder follows.