The B.C. government said it is increasing public education and enforcement for renters and landlords. Photo courtesy CBC.

The B.C. government said it is increasing public education and enforcement for renters and landlords. Photo courtesy CBC.

British Columbia’s government says it’s increasing public education and bolstering enforcement to better protect the rights of both renters and landlords.

The actions mark the first phase of addressing recommendations from a rental housing task force that aimed to improve security and fairness in the province’s often tight market.

The Municipal Affairs and Housing Ministry says in a news release that enhanced public education will be supported through new funding to Landlord BC and the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre.

The ministry says education will focus on rules around so-called renovictions to help clarify the many situations when ending a tenancy could be unnecessary or illegal, and the limited situations when a rental unit needs to be vacant for renovations.

It also says the province has created a new compliance and enforcement unit within the Residential Tenancy Branch to investigate complaints and take action against landlords and renters who are repeat or serious offenders.

A new local government liaison position has also been created within the branch to help resolve issues that involve a role for both local government and the branch, such as illegal renovictions and demovictions.

“To make renting work better for everyone, we need to make sure both renters and landlords know their rights under the law and have a place to go when there’s an issue with those rights,” says Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson in the release.

“Housing is the foundation of people’s lives. We want to create a rental market where there are no surprises, renters and landlords are treated fairly and there is better security for both sides.”

The release says phase two of addressing the task force recommendations will include further actions by the end of 2019. Recommendations that require legislative changes or other additional work, such as rental restrictions in strata units, will be part of phase three with actions to come in 2020.

The Canadian Press