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Extended B.C. eviction timeline could mean buyer financing headaches, industry reps say


As the NDP government moves to protect tenants in B.C. from bad-faith evictions – some who work in the housing industry are pushing back.

An issue of particular concern is the extension of the eviction notice period. Starting July 18, landlords will be required to give four months notice instead of two when evicting tenants for personal use.

That could make buying a home with existing tenants far more difficult because banks generally only lock in financing terms with prospective buyers for periods shorter than this four-month eviction notification period, according to a broker and a Realtor.

“If you’re doing subject to financing, which is a conservative, responsible thing to do, financing at major banks, credit unions and even private lending, are generally going to be up to 120 days, where they will hold your terms,” said Keaton Bessey, managing broker for Greater Vancouver Tenant & Property Management Ltd.

And given how quickly mortgage rates have moved at certain periods over the last few years, this could have implications for some buyers.

“You’re going to go in and say, ‘Hey I’d like to buy this unit for $600,000.’ And the bank’s going to say, ‘OK, great, here’s your loan, and we’re going to promise you a mortgage rate of five per cent percent.’ Well, they can only hold that rate for on average 90 days,” said Realtor Steve Saretsky.

But advocates for renters argue the changes are overdue and protect renters who in vulnerable situations.

“Two months, which is the switch – they’re going from two months to four months – two months is not really much time at all to go through the mental shock of the roof over your head being taken away,” said Mariah Javadi, a volunteer with the Vancouver Tenants’ Union.

And the consequences of an eviction for people on low incomes can be particularly catastrophic.

“That extra two months for a renter could make the difference between community displacement or even homelessness as they’re trying to find another property,” said Amanda Burrows with First United, which provides various supports to tenants and homeless people.

One change that seems to be getting more widespread support is the government's new portal which landlords will be required to use in order to generate a landlord's use eviction notice – which will inform them of penalties of misuse, standardize the notices themselves, and allow better tracking and follow-up

"Instead of just going through and filling out a form, it's asking questions in an interactive process, and requiring people who are going through it to essentially affirm that they have understood the rules about this notice, and the appropriate time to give this notice,” said Hunter Boucher with Landlord BC.

Even with these changes – some advocates argue more protections are needed – with some pushing for allowable rent increases to be tied to a unit rather than a tenant.

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon was not available for an interview, but his office noted other jurisdictions with similar or greater eviction notice periods include Quebec, at six months, Prince Edward Island, and Manitoba. Top Stories

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