Residential Tenancies: Wrongfully Evicted by a BC Landlord?

Eviction Notices: Landlord’s Use

Did your former landlord end your tenancy so that your unit could be occupied by the landlord or the landlord’s close family member, but fail to use the unit for this purpose?  If so, your landlord may owe you 12 months of your previous rent as compensation.

Who is a Close Family Member?

The Residential Tenancy Act (“RTA”) defines a “close family member” as the landlord’s spouse, or the parents or children of the landlord or the landlord’s spouse. It doesn’t include the brother or sister of the landlord or the brother or sister of the landlord’s spouse.

How Long Must the Landlord use the Unit for the Stated Purpose?

The unit should be used for the stated purpose (landlord’s use) for at least six months, beginning within a reasonable period after the notice takes effect.

What is a Reasonable Period?

A reasonable period for accomplishing the stated purpose for the end of a tenancy will vary depending on the circumstances. However, it will usually be a short amount of time when the reason for end of tenancy is for the landlord’s use. See section 50 of the Residential Tenancy Policy Guideline for further detail.

Good Faith Requirement

A landlord must act in good faith if they end the tenancy so that they, or a close family member, can move into the unit. Acting in good faith means that the landlord had honest intentions and no ulterior motive when issuing the two month notice to end tenancy.

Burden of Proof is on the Landlord, when Applying for 12 Month’s Rent as Compensation

The burden of proof is on the landlord. This means that your landlord will have to convince the arbitrator that they used the unit for the stated purpose of ending the tenancy. However, you are still given the opportunity to present your evidence at the hearing. See section 51 of the RTA for more information.

Extenuating Circumstances are Considered

It is important to note that an arbitrator can excuse a landlord from paying 12 months’ rent as compensation if there are extenuating circumstances. These are circumstances where it would be unreasonable and unjust for a landlord to pay compensation. For example, if a landlord ends the tenancy so that their parent can occupy the unit and the parent passes away after one month of moving into the unit, this would likely be considered an extenuating circumstance. See section 51 of the RTA and RTB Policy Guideline 50 for more information.

If you are concerned that your landlord failed to follow through with the reason for your eviction you should consult with a lawyer.

**Please note that this information is intended for informational purposes only. there are always other considerations and interpretations of the law.  This does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. For more information or assistance with a residential tenancy eviction matter, contact our office to speak with a lawyer directly.  

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Lisa Spring

Lisa is an associate lawyer with Jiwa Law Corporation and her practice consists of matters primarily relating to Personal Injury and Civil Litigation.

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