Landlord and Tenant Act still off balance

Landlord and Tenant Act still off-balance Open letter to Elaine Taylor, minister of community services: Members of the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition would like to thank you and your government for introducing Bill No. 51, which repeals and replaces part

Open letter to Elaine Taylor, minister of community services:

Members of the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition would like to thank you and your government for introducing Bill No. 51, which repeals and replaces part of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

We believe that the new Residential Landlord and Tenant Act addresses many of the issues that the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition raised during the select committee’s work in 2010 and the public consultation that followed. Updating and revising this legislation was long overdue and we appreciate the government’s commitment to bringing in a new act.

We are very concerned, however, that the select committee’s fifth recommendation -“to provide clarity when it comes to eviction and termination of tenancies”- has not been addressed at all. One of the fundamental changes needed to the act is in the area of security of tenure, yet the new act still allows for eviction without cause.

Every other province and territory except for New Brunswick recognizes that defining the ways a tenancy ends with a list of causes of termination allows for a more balanced and clear relationship between landlords and tenants. Some examples described in our submission of March 2010 include both non-performance of the tenant’s responsibilities (chronic failure to pay rent on time, significant damage, frequent noisy parties despite warnings, etc.) as well as landlord-based causes such as putting a building to another use, major renovations or other valid reasons. Ontario’s legislation is an excellent example of how eviction with cause can be described and enforced.

You have suggested a selling point of this new legislation is its balanced approach. We believe, however, that so long as eviction without cause exists in the legislation, the balance you speak of has not been reached.

As an organization with more than 275 agencies, business owners, members of the faith community and individuals, we hope you will take this serious concern into consideration when you next debate Bill 51.

Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition, Whitehorse