Prince Rupert City Council has approved a Business Regulation and Licensing (Rental Units) Bylaw 3476, 2021 to regulate the rental of rooms for living purposes and to prescribe standards for the maintenance of residential property and rental units. This Bylaw is intended to address the serious shortage of affordable market rental accommodations and ‘renoviction’ trend in Prince Rupert.
This Bylaw is a local regulation that acts in complement to the Provincial Residential Tenancy Act. The Residential Tenancy Branch offers additional information on tenants rights, as well as tenant-landlord dispute mechanisms.
How does this Bylaw change regulations of rental units in Prince Rupert?
The Bylaw puts a number of regulations into place regarding the upkeep of rental units in Prince Rupert, and is also intended to put into place controls regarding the eviction of tenants to complete renovations and/or repairs.
In addition, property owners shall be responsible to obtain an annual business licence if they are renting dwelling units within multi-family residences in Prince Rupert, and pay all associated licensing fees. The licensing requirement of the bylaw (obtaining a business licence) does not apply to those owners renting out a single detached dwelling unit (aka single family home), two-family dwelling units or secondary suites (if any) of those units. This exemption only applies to licensing, not property management/maintenance.
The following is a summary of minimum maintenance standards that must be followed under the Bylaw so that tenants have appropriate living conditions:
- Owners are responsible for pest control and must keep properties free of mice, rats, bed bugs, cockroaches and other vermin, and from conditions that may encourage pests.
- Owners must supply adequate receptacles to keep garbage enclosed, and ensure tenants are appropriately disposing of waste.
- Owners are responsible for maintenance and good repair of roofs, stairs, railings, porches, deck joists, rafters, beams, columns, foundations, floors, walls, ceilings, plumbing, heating, electrical, ventilation, as well as fire alarm and detection systems. Where laundry and elevator systems exist, they must also be maintained.
- Plumbing must be free from leaks, and have an adequate supply of both hot/cold running water. One working toilet must also be supplied for every 5 sleeping units within a property, which must be accessible from a common area within the building.
- The Bylaw also sets out minimum room sizes and ceiling heights.
- Owners or their designates may not disconnect or cause to be disconnected any service or utility providing light, heat, air conditioning, refrigeration, water or cooking facilities for any rental unit occupied by a tenant, except for such reasonable period of time as my be required for repairs, replacing or altering the service or utility.
- Each sleeping unit must also be provided with a means of ventilation and natural light from windows.
See the full Bylaw for an exhaustive list of standards
What restrictions will there be on evictions?
Owners may no longer deliver a notice to end the tenancy of a rental unit in order to renovate or repair the unit, effective April 26th, 2022 (date Bylaw came into effect) unless the owner has obtained EVERY permit required AND has either:
1. Entered into a new tenancy agreement with the tenant with either the same terms to the same unit or terms more favourable to the tenant for a comparable unit in the same building. (A copy of the Agreement must be supplied to the Inspector). OR
2. Made other arrangements in writing for the tenant’s temporary accommodation during the renovation/repair, and for their return to their original rental unit under the terms of the existing tenancy agreement following the renovation/repair. (Documentation of the arrangements as well as evidence of the tenant’s consent to the arrangements must be provided to the Inspector).
In addition, landlords who have met all above conditions under the City of Prince Rupert’s Bylaw must also abide by all legislated requirements of the Residential Tenancy Act. As of July 1st, 2022, landlords must also apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch to determine if ending a tenancy is the only way to complete renovations/repairs. More information on their regulations is here.
Owners also cannot increase the rent after renovations or repairs, except by the amount permitted under the Residential Tenancy Act. If the rent is increased by more than is permitted, the City Inspector may collect a monthly business licence surcharge equal to the difference between the rent allowed to be collected and the amount the tenant is paying, and the renewal of the owner’s business licence may be refused.
How will this Bylaw be enforced?
The Bylaw can be enforced by the City’s appointed Chief Licence Inspector, who will have the right to enter properties under the Bylaw at all reasonable times to ascertain whether the Bylaw is being followed. The Inspector will show proper identification and will notice the owner or occupant regarding the purpose of the entry. If there is a contravention of the Bylaw, an order can be made requiring the owner to bring the residence into compliance with the Bylaw within a specified timeframe. If a ticket is issued, a fine between $25—$2,000 may be issued, depending on the severity of the offense.
If proceedings are brought under the Offence Act, a minimum fine of $2,000 will be levied up to a maximum of $50,000. This may occur if, for instance, an owner repeatedly violates maintenance conditions and/or renoviction regulations laid out in the Bylaw.
What will happen if a landlord loses their license due to contravention of the Bylaw?
If a license has been suspended and the rental units occupants have been evicted due to the license suspension, any new license request for these units may be approved subject to the issues for the suspension being fully resolved to the satisfaction of the Inspector. In addition, when reapplying for a license, the owner must provide the same rental rates as those legally in place prior to the eviction, and any tenant previously occupying said unit must be given priority for reoccupying the units. In addition, moving costs being incurred by the occupants must be paid for by the landlord.
How was the community informed about this Bylaw?
The City provided notice of the Bylaw in the local newspaper, our notice Board at City Hall, and on our website, and through that notice the community was provided an opportunity to write in to Council regarding their thoughts and concerns regarding the Bylaw.
Have more questions?
Contact Corporate Administrator Rosamaria Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250) 627 0963.