Residential tenancy rules protect landlords, tenants

The provincial government’s Residential Tenancy Branch has taken its first tour of the region to hold information workshops

Nithya Mascarenhas from the provincial Residential Tenancy Branch.

Due to wild changes in housing prices and availability because of increased industrial activity in the north, the provincial government’s Residential Tenancy Branch has taken its first tour of the region to hold information workshops.

Held in Terrace at city hall May 11 and 12, organizer Nithya Mascarenhas from the tenancy branch says that the information she provided at the workshop was directed at informing tenants and landlords of their legal rights.

“Because of all the natural resource development in the north there are lots of housing issues and questions and we are letting people know what the rules are and how to get help if you need it,” she said. “Very often when landlords and tenants are in conflict, they tend to phone the police and the police are limited in terms of what they can do in tenancy matters. They don’t have authority over the residential tenancy act, they have authority over the criminal code.”

That’s where the Residential Tenancy Branch comes in. They will tell people know what the law is and what someone’s options are for arbitration. Some rules protect the landlord and others protect the tenant.

For example, a landlord is only permitted to raise rent once a year and the maximum is 2.5 per cent. They also have to give three months before they do so.

And there are rules to protect landlords trying to sell their houses.

One rule in this category is that it is illegal for the tenants to spread false rumours about the quality of the house to prospective buyers, something that more than one landlord at the meeting had happen.

The workshop also focused on eviction protocol. For example, those who attended learned that the tenant has to leave within 10 days if they don’t pay the rent. If they don’t leave, the landlord has to apply for an order of possession which takes another two weeks if the paperwork is done right.