Natural Gas Development

Changes support tenants, landlords, strata corporations

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Natural Gas Development

Changes support tenants, landlords, strata corporations

Contacts
Sandra Steilo
Media Relations
Ministry of Natural Gas Development
250 952-0617
Contacts
Sandra Steilo
Media Relations
Ministry of Natural Gas Development
250 952-0617

Backgrounders

Proposed Amendments to Residential Tenancy and Strata Property Acts

The first of two proposed changes to the Residential Tenancy Act would allow tenants to end a fixed-term tenancy (lease) early, in cases where the tenant is fleeing family violence or has been accepted into a long-term care facility.

Currently, tenants can’t end a lease early without a financial penalty, unless the landlord agrees. Under the proposed changes, tenants with personal safety or health-care needs could end their lease by giving their landlord one month’s written notice, accompanied by written third-party verification (eligible third-party verifiers will be professionals who have expertise in assessing risk and safety related to family violence or the need for long-term care).

This is part of B.C.’s commitment to a Violence-Free BC and aligns with commitments in the Provincial Domestic Violence Plan. Another proposed change to the act would allow landlords to repay a tenant’s security deposit by electronic transfer of funds. Currently, deposits must be returned by ordinary mail, by registered mail or in person. This change will support the government’s goal of reducing red tape and supporting changing technology.

Government consulted extensively on these changes, with landlord and tenant associations; legal advocates; anti-violence and victim-serving organizations; and health authorities. The proposed changes are widely supported.

Proposed amendment to the Strata Property Act

A proposed change to the Strata Property Act will make it easier for owners to terminate a strata corporation by lowering the voting threshold from a unanimous vote to a new 80% vote of all owners. There is also court oversight to protect minority dissenting owners and registered chargeholders (e.g. mortgage providers).

Owners may wish to terminate their strata corporation for several reasons. As older strata corporations reach the end of their life cycle, major building and common property components start to fail, resulting in expensive repair bills. In some cases, strata owners want to sell the property to a developer who can put it to better or more profitable uses. For example, strata members living in a low-rise building on a large property may see the opportunity to have the land redeveloped into a larger building with more units.

Currently, a unanimous vote is needed to terminate a strata corporation. The proposed changes would allow termination by an 80% vote of all the owners, making it easier for a majority of owners to terminate their strata corporation, if they decide it’s in their best interests.

In developing these proposed changes, the provincial government consulted extensively with the British Columbia Law Institute Strata Property Law Project Committee, which includes: expert strata lawyers; representation from the Urban Development Institute, and the two major strata associations: the Condominium Home Owners Association and the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association.

In 2014, the provincial government asked the BC Law Institute to review strata termination requirements. The proposed changes to the Strata Property Act are based on the BC Law Institute’s recommendation to government and are widely supported.

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