Government reviews Landlord and Tenant Act, again

On June 8, Community Services Minister Elaine Taylor announced the territory would conduct a survey on the law, which hasn’t seen substantial changes since the ‘70s.

UPDATED

The Yukon government is reviewing its Landlord and Tenant Act for the second time in less than three years.

On June 8, Community Services Minister Elaine Taylor announced the territory would conduct a survey on the law, which hasn’t seen substantial changes since the ‘70s.

In November 2009, the territory struck a committee to review the law. It visited the communities and spoke with lawyers, businesses, landlords and tenants.

The Canadian Bar Association made 10 recommendations. But, by August 2011, nothing had been done, the former president of the lawyers’ association told the News at the time.

The bar association wanted the act to be more easily understood. It also wanted to see part of the law changed that allows landlords to evict tenants without explanation.

“That’s one area where the Yukon is a little bit out of step,” said Peter Morawsky, the bar association’s former president. “But that’s a social policy issue.”

The Landlord and Tenant Act came back under public scrutiny following the deaths of five Porter Creek residents of carbon monoxide poisoning in January.

The territory’s housing shortage has also kept the Landlord and Tenant Act in the spotlight. The Yukon’s vacancy rate hovers around one per cent, while rental rates and housing costs have hit all-time highs.

Revamping tenancy laws will help both landlords and renters, according to the government’s press release.

It made a similar commitment back in November 2009, after another internal review wrapped up in 2008.

This new public survey is supposed to “build on” the committee’s past work and recommendations, Taylor said in a release.

It remains unclear what has been done with the committee’s recommendations since receiving them in September 2010. It’s also unclear when the government plans to introduce changes.

The department could not be reached before the News’ Monday deadline.

The survey can be completed online, at www.community.gov.yk.ca. Surveys must be completed by July 9.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at roxannes@yukon-news.com

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