Eviction for Major Work or Conversion

How can I evict my tenant if I want to regain possession of the rental unit for the purposes of major renovation/repairs or conversion of the rental unit?

BC Landlord Guide- Eviction for Major Work or Conversion
How can I evict my tenant if I want to regain possession of the rental unit for the purposes of major renovation/repairs or conversion of the rental unit?

A landlord may issue a Two-Month Notice to End Tenancy if the landlord wishes to regain possession of the rental unit, in good faith, for any of the following purposes:

  • demolish the rental unit;
  • renovate or repair the rental unit in a manner that requires the rental unit be vacant;
  • convert the residential property to strata lots under the Strata Property Act;
  • convert the residential property into a not-for-profit housing cooperative under the Cooperative Association Act;
  • convert the rental unit for use by a caretaker, manager or superintendent of the residential property; or
  • convert the rental unit to a non-residential use.

Before issuing such notice for so-called “renoviction”, the landlord must already have obtained all required permits and approvals required by the law.

Where the tenancy is on a month-to-month basis, the landlord’s notice is effective not earlier than two months after the date the tenant receives the notice and its effective date must be on the day before the day of the month that rent is normally due. For example, if a tenant’s rent is due on the first day of each month and the landlord intends to evict the tenant by July, the landlord may seek to terminate the tenancy on June 30th and, if so, will have to provide the tenant with their notice by April 30th.

Where the tenancy is for a fixed-term, in addition to the rules described above, the effective date of the notice may not be earlier than the date specified as the end of the fixed-term.

These grounds for eviction require the landlord to be acting in good faith. Practically speaking, this means that the landlord must be acting with an honest intention and with no ulterior motive to defraud the tenant or to seek an unconscionable advantage.

In addition to the two months’ notice, a landlord seeking to end a tenancy to regain possession of the rental unit must provide the tenant, before the effective date of the notice, with monetary compensation equivalent to one month’s rent payable under the tenancy agreement. However, instead of having the landlord issue a separate payment for such compensation, the tenant may elect to simply withhold payment of rent for the final month of the tenancy.

Once served with a Two-Month Notice to End Tenancy, the tenant may challenge it by applying for dispute resolution within 15 days after receiving the notice. If the tenant fails to take any action within 15 days, the tenant is presumed to have accepted that the tenancy ends on the effective day of the landlord’s notice and must vacate the rental unit by that date.

Faced with such notice, the tenant may also choose to end a periodic tenancy (ex. a month-to-month tenancy) even earlier than the two-month notice period by giving the landlord at least 10 days’ written notice on any date that is earlier than the effective date of the landlord’s notice. Once this notice is issued, the tenant is only obligated to pay rent owing up to the effective date of the notice and any overpayment of rent must be refunded by the landlord. Notably, the tenant’s 10-day notice does not affect in any way the tenant’s right to monetary compensation by the landlord.

In the earlier example where a landlord chooses to end the tenancy on June 30th by giving notice to their tenant on April 30th, a tenant may instead chose to move out on June 15th by giving the landlord a 10-day notice. If the tenant already paid rent for the entire month of June, the landlord will have to refund the rent paid for the second half of that month and will still owe the tenant monetary compensation in the amount of one month’s rent.

Finally, if the landlord fails to take steps to accomplish the stated purpose for ending the tenancy (ie. to demolish, renovate or convert the rental unit) within a reasonable period after the effective date of the landlord’s two-month notice or if the rental unit is not used for that stated purpose for at least 6 months beginning within a reasonable period after the effective date of the notice, the landlord must pay the tenant a penalty equivalent to double the monthly rent payable under the tenancy agreement.

Last revised: April 17, 2016

  • Landlords will often attempt to evict tenants on these grounds where market rates for rent have far exceeded the rent paid by current tenants. In effect, it may be more cost-effective for landlords to spend a few thousand dollars on repairs and thereafter be able to re-rent the rental unit at a much higher rate. However, such disguised attempts to raise a tenant’s rent beyond what the Residential Tenancy Act permits will be subject to very close scrutiny and will likely not meet the good-faith requirement.
  • This section may not bring about an end to the tenancy if the tenant, who is faced with a notice of eviction, proposes to vacate the rental unit during the renovations. In short, you will likely not be able to use these grounds to evict your tenant if the proposed renovations may only require the tenant to vacate the rental property for a few days and tenant agrees to find temporary accommodation during that time. To increase your odds of success of evicting the tenant under this section, you will have to prove that either (1) the renovations are so extensive that they will require the tenant to vacate the rental property for a substantial period of time or (2) that the renovations require the tenant to vacate the rental unit and the tenant refuses to vacate under any circumstances or for any length of time.

This article explains in a general way the law that applies in British Columbia, Canada and is not a substitute for legal advice specific to your situation.