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NEWS RELEASE · 1st June 2010
BC NDP Caucus
A series of Private Member’s Bills proposed by the New Democrats would protect the rights of renters and tenants by closing gaps in the Residential Tenancy Act and the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act.

“Renters deserve to feel secure in their homes and shouldn’t fear eviction at a moment’s notice,” said Shane Simpson, New Democrat housing and social development critic. “But for too long, the B.C. Liberals ignored the plight of renters across B.C. The legislation we’re proposing today would recognize renter’s rights, yet be also be fair to landlords.”

The three pieces of legislation include a series of amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act as well as changes to the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act.

Amendments proposed by Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Diane Thorne would increase the notice that a landlord must give a tenant in the event of renovation evictions, and give tenants the right of first refusal following renovations or conversion into a strata unit. The bill would also increase the time allowed to pay overdue rent and provide additional time to dispute an eviction notice.

“Renters in B.C. are often left without proper rights,” said Thorne. “There is an imbalance of power between landlords and tenants, particularly when you examine the many avenues available for landlords to evict tenants with little notice and less compensation. It’s important to recognize and protect the rights of renters in British Columbia.”

Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert’s Long Term Tenants Protection Act would protect tenants from massive rent hikes applied for under the geographic area increase clause which has allowed for landlord proposals to raise rents up to 73 per cent in one year. The bill would also protect people like long-term West End resident Lynne Stevens, who was evicted from her suite under the pretext of conversion for landlord use, despite the fact that other suites were available for that purpose.

“Whether it’s in the West End or in communities right across the province, renters deserve to know they won’t be unfairly evicted from their homes,” said Chandra Herbert. “This legislation would crack down on unfair evictions and massive rent hikes.”

Amendments to the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act proposed by Simpson would protect the rights of manufactured home park residents who face eviction when parks are redeveloped.

“Currently, residents of manufactured home parks have little protection when their parks are redeveloped, something that is increasingly happening around the province. This legislation would help owners of manufactured homes by recognizing the time and cost of relocating their homes,” said Simpson.

Carole James and the New Democrat team are working towards keeping the B.C. Liberals accountable and creating a province in which everyone can afford secure, stable housing.