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Renovation + Evictions | Renovictions, what are they and why they affect you

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

As you know, Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities to rent IN THE WORLD! One of the things that started happening a few years back is that landlords, after seeing rent prices go up so quickly, got greedy. As an example, suppose they had a tenant who was paying $1,800 for their 1-bedroom apartment. However, after a few months, all 1-bedroom apartments nearby were now rented for $2,000. The landlord would give notice to the tenant saying that they needed to leave because they were going to renovate the unit (but secretly want to kick them out because they want to rent to another person for $2000). 😱

What are renovictions?

Renovictions are a type of eviction from a rental unit where the argument for ending the contract is that the unit needs to be renovated.

If you think this is unfair, you are completely right! They cannot do that and shouldn’t do that unless there is a real renovation. Eventually, the government intervened and created laws around renoviction to protect renters. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Most renovations don’t require an eviction. If your landlord is changing the electric plugs, changing the floor, a furnace or water heating pump, the kitchen countertops, a bathtub, replacing doors, the fridge or any appliances, IT DOES NOT COUNT as a renovation that you should be kicked out for.

2. There are 4 conditions that must be met to evict you. The four reasons are:

  1. The renovation requires the unit to be empty.

  2. The renovation is needed for the unit to “survive”. Meaning no one will be able to live in it soon if they don’t renovate.

  3. The only way to have the unit as empty as they need it is to end your contract.

  4. Most importantly, the landlord has all the permits required by law to do the renovation.

This last one is important because the landlord must ask the local government for permission to do big renovations.

3. The landlord has to give you 4 months to move out. After the landlord has all their permits approved, they have to give you 4 months' notice.

4. You could make money in the process. If you are being kicked out for a renovation, your landlord can offer you a 1-month rent payment (although they are not obligated to). Finally, if you think the landlord did not complete the renovations or used the unit for something else, you can make a claim and possibly get 1 year of rent in compensation.

It’s always better to be prepared. At least now we know you are smarter than other renters and know what your rights are. Last thing: the regulatory body for tenancies is the RTB (Residential Tenancy Branch). They will protect you from evil landlords 👿

May the force be with you.

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