WHITEHORSE—Yukon landlords and tenants will have new, modern tenancy legislation to guide them. The Residential Landlord and Tenant Act was proclaimed last week with the passage of its regulations, which include minimum rental standards.
“The Residential Landlord and Tenant Act provides Yukoners with a clear and effective residential tenancy law,” Minister of Community Services Currie Dixon said. “This act promotes a healthy private rental market in Yukon by balancing the interests of landlords and tenants and will serve both well.”
The Residential Tenancies Office created by the act will be responsible for administering the legislation, including dispute resolution procedures. In preparation, it will launch a public education campaign over the coming months to educate landlords and tenants about their rights and responsibilities. Activities will include public information sessions, a new website and publication of a Residential Landlord and Tenant Handbook.
“The Government of Yukon has taken great care to consider the needs of Yukoners. This new legislation reflects stakeholder input and best practices from across the country while considering Yukon’s unique rental situations,” Dixon added.
The act will apply to most landlords and tenants, including housing agencies. Long-term stays in hotels and motels and other tourist accommodations of six months and longer will also be governed by the new legislation.
The act comes into force on January 1, 2016.
See backgrounder below.
Bonnie Venton Ross
Communications, Community Services
Backgrounder: The Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
The Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (RLTA) was passed in December 2012. It was developed following a public review of proposals that were based on the 2010 recommendations of a Select Committee of the Legislature which was asked to review the Landlord and Tenant Act.
The RLTA established a Residential Tenancies Office (RTO) to provide a new dispute resolution process outside the courts. The office’s first task was to develop regulations and minimum rental standards. These regulations, like the act, drew on best practices from across Canada and were put out for public review from December 2013 to March 2014. On September 11, 2015, the regulations were passed and the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act was proclaimed, effective January 1, 2016.
Now that the legislation is complete, the Residential Tenancies Office will launch a public education campaign. Over the next few months landlords and tenants will receive information through a series of public information sessions, a new website and a Residential Landlord and Tenant Handbook.
- On January 1, 2016, the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act comes into effect and the Residential Tenancies Office begins providing accessible and binding dispute resolution outside the courts.
- A one-year transition period will provide landlords with time to make any repairs or improvements so their rental units can meet the regulation’s new minimum rental standards.
- All current and future tenancies will require written tenancy agreements. All agreements will be required to have standard terms such as fees, rules for entry, ending the tenancy, rent increases and repairs.
- Condition inspection reports to record the rental unit’s condition at the start and end of a tenancy will have to be completed and signed by the landlord and tenant. Failure to do so may jeopardize the landlord’s or the tenant’s right to claim the security deposit.
- Only one security deposit may be charged for each tenancy agreement and only at the start of the tenancy. It cannot be more than the value of the first month’s rent. Deposits for pets and fuel are prohibited.
- New safety standards will help protect tenants. They include mandatory carbon monoxide detectors in buildings with a fuel-burning appliance and smoke alarms.
- The regulations include minimum rental standards that may vary depending on the age, character and location of the rental property, as well as the services or facilities that are provided or agreed to be provided.
- The legislation will apply to most residential landlords and tenants in Yukon, as well as:
- Housing agencies such as the Yukon Housing Corporation, Grey Mountain Housing Society and Kwanlin Dün First Nation and their tenants;
- Hotels and motels and other tourist accommodations for long-term stays of six months and longer.
- The Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and regulations will not apply to:
- Accommodations where the tenant shares bathroom or kitchen facilities with the owner;
- Stays in a hotel, motel or other tourist establishment for less than six months;
- Commercial tenancies or accommodation that is included with the premises that are occupied for business purposes and that is rented under a single agreement;
- Residences or facilities owned or operated by an educational institution;
- Institutional facilities such as emergency and transitional housing, public or private hospitals, correctional institutions, community care, continuing care and assisted living, any group home, out-of-home care or similar living accommodation provided by federal, Yukon or First Nations governments for individuals with special needs.
- If a landlord intends to convert all or a significant part of a mobile home park to a non-residential use or a use other than as a mobile home park and gives notice for a reason, a full 18 rental months of notice will be required to end that tenancy.