BC HOME GROUP | SHIRIN PUREWAL | VICTORIA REAL ESTATE | info@bchomegroup.ca1-778-401-9545

Residential Tenancy Act Temporary Amendments

As you are likely aware, the British Columbia Provincial Government has made amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act, among other Acts, by way of Ministerial Order (the “Order”).  A link to the Order can be found here:

http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/oic/oic_cur/m089_2020

Notice to End Tenancy:

From March 30, 2020 until the declared state of emergency is no longer in effect in BC, a landlord must not give a tenant a notice to end a tenancy including notice under section 49 of the Residential Tenancy Act for Landlord’s Use of the Property (subject to certain limited exemptions in the link above).

If a landlord gave a tenant valid notice to end the tenancy prior to March 30, 2020, while the notice itself is still valid, a Writ of Possession cannot be enforced during the time the Order is in effect. A Writ of Possession is required for an owner to have a Bailiff lawfully remove the tenant from the property should the tenant not move out at the agreed to time. As a result of the foregoing, if a Seller has given a valid Notice to End Tenancy under section 49 of the Residential Tenancy Act before March 30, 2020 and the tenant does not move out on the agreed to time while the Order is still in force, then the Seller would not be in a position to grant possession of the rented premises to a Buyer. 

Landlord’s Right to Enter Rental Unit (Residential Tenancy Act):

During the period for which the declared state of emergency is in effect in BC, a landlord must not enter a rental unit that is subject to a tenancy agreement unless the tenant has expressly consented to the landlord entering the unit (subject to certain limited exemptions in the link above).

For more information regarding COVID-19 and tenancies, please see the following link to the BC Residential Tenancy Branch:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/covid-19

If you have any questions on the above or we can help you with any real estate related matters, please do not hesitate to contact our office at any time.

Yours truly,

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Q – Our office practice has always been that if there is a tenant in place and vacant possession of a property is intended, we have a buyers' notice filled out to give to the sellers, who then serve official notice to the tenants to end tenancy. 

 

The seller’s agent seems to be saying that vacant possession is implied, and that we do not need the form. In this case, there was no language in the contract saying that the seller had to give notice and the possession part was left blank with no reference to the tenant in place.

 

Can you please clarify? We have always gotten the VREB form signed by both parties in such a situation.

 

A -     If the seller signs the offer with: 

A)   no language in the contract requiring the seller give notice to the tenant; or

B)   the possession clause is blank when it comes to existing tenancies,

 

 

Then the seller has contractually agreed to provide vacant possession without further notice or action by the buyer.

 

Thus it is for the benefit of both parties, that the standard clause with respect to tenancy, stating that the buyer will provide a letter and the seller notice to the tenant after conditions are removed, pursuant to section 49, is in a contract where the property is tenanted and the tenant has not already agreed to move out. 

 

So if this clause is not in the contract, the seller may have a legal issue as they have legally agreed to provide possession, but the buyer is not required to provide a letter. 

 

However, it is still in everyone's best interests that the buyer provide that letter, if in fact the buyer is intending to occupy the unit, as otherwise it is not possible to provide legal notice to the tenant. The buyer may want assurances that the seller assumes all responsibility, for any costs arising from providing notice to the tenant.

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