Rental Maintenance and Licensing Standards

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 are there be on evictions?

**Note - This section has been amended to clarify the applicability of our Bylaw in practice, given changes to the Residential Tenancy Act. 

As per amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act, owners may no longer deliver a notice to end the tenancy of a rental unit in order to renovate or repair the unit unless the owner has obtained EVERY permit required AND has applied to the Residential Tenancy Branch for an Order of Possession. There will be a dispute resolution proceeding where an arbitrator will decide if ending the tenancy is the only way to complete this work. Any notice received on or after July 1, 2021 is invalid and the landlord must end the tenancy under the new process by applying to the Residential Tenancy Branch. More information on their regulations is here.

If the Tenant is aware that the Landlord has not followed the Residential Tenancy Act, and has not obtained all Building Permits and Orders from the Residential Tenancy Branch, under Section 44 of the City’s Bylaw, tenants may also submit a complaint to the City’s Bylaw Department. Section 44 of the City’s Bylaw reflects Provincial process, and therefore allows the City to enforce municipal ticketing against a landlord while they continue to be in contravention of the City’s Bylaw and consequently, the Residential Tenancy Act. Therefore, fines and potential for suspension of a business license serve as an additional deterrent against illegal evictions in Prince Rupert. Section 45 of the Bylaw establishes that once a landlord is in compliance with the Residential Tenancy Act, the Bylaw is no longer applicable. Note that Section 44 does not apply to Single Family Dwelling Units, Two Family Dwelling Units or the Secondary Suites (if any) of those units, although landlords are still required to go through the Order or Possession process for these units under the Residential Tenancy Act.

Owners also cannot increase the rent after renovations or repairs, except by the amount permitted under the Residential Tenancy Act, and/or ordered by the Residential Tenancy Branch as part of the Order of Possession. Note that this does not necessarily mean that tenants will be able to return at the same rent as previously held. If landlords of multi-family rental units increase the rent by more than is permitted by the Residential Tenancy Act an/or an Order of the Residential Tenancy Branch, a complaint may be lodged with the City, and 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. The renewal of the owner’s business licence may also 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 provide notice to 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—$500/day may be issued, depending on the severity of the offense. If the offense is not rectified within the specified timeframe, the ticket fee may increase up to $1000/day until compliance is reached.

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. 

If a landlord continues to refuse to comply with the Bylaw, the case may be referred to the Compliance and Enforcement Branch of the Residential Tenancy Branch.

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.

A landlord is not permitted to evict tenants on the basis of license suspension. The suspension of licence for the landlord would make the units illegal municipally, but the landlord is still subject to restrictions on evictions as the Residential Tenancy Act applies to both legal and non-legal suites. There are only 4 reasons why a landlord is permitted to evict (non-payment, violation of terms (damange to property), family member moving in, or significant renovation). Under the Bylaw, the City is still able to enforce Part 4 Minimum Maintenance Standards and Part 5 BUILDING RENOVATIONS to non-licensed landlords (e.g. those landlords of single family homes and suites). The suspension of licence allows the City to fine a landlord until they bring everything into compliance in order to obtain a new licence. Licencing under the Bylaw allows the City to track landlords and respond efficiently to violations.

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  or call (250) 627 0963.