Skip to content

No-cause eviction ban will send potential property-owners ‘running for the hills’: Yukon Party

Landlord association president says some Yukoners feel failed by the Yukon government
Premier Ranj Pillai, who is Yukon Liberal Party leader, and Yukon NDP Leader Kate White shake hands after signing the renewed confidence and supply agreement on Jan. 31, 2023. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

Some renters are likely feeling some relief since the Yukon NDP and Liberal caucuses signed an extended confidence and supply agreement that includes provisions on rent caps and evictions without cause.

Yukon NDP Leader Kate White touched on the details of the renewed deal in a joint Liberal-NDP press conference and signing ceremony at the Yukon legislature on the morning of Jan. 31. The agreement extends the 2021 confidence and supply agreement between the two caucuses.

“This deal will help renters breathe a little bit easier by banning no-cause evictions and bringing in a more common-sense model like they have in other parts of Canada where evictions can take place for reasons like nonpayment of rent or property damage,” White said.

The agreement, widely known for its acronym CASA, outlines six initiatives the Yukon government will take to “address the growing need for safe, affordable and stable housing.”

That includes: “immediately eliminate no-cause evictions, instead allowing evictions based on reasonable grounds including nonpayment of rent, property damage, or occupation by the landlord or a family member of the landlord. This clause will be legislated into the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act following a review of the act.”

The Liberal government’s Premier Ranj Pillai said policies have been put into place.

An order in council states a tenancy agreement is exempted from a landlord’s notice to end a tenancy, other than if the tenancy is being ended for the sole reason that the landlord or the landlord’s immediate family member will occupy the rental unit or residential property.

Another order in council brings into effect a revised limit on rent controls beginning in 2023. It states rent cannot be increased by more than five per cent if the consumer price index for the calendar year preceding the rent change year was equal to or greater than five per cent, and greater than two per cent if the preceding year was less than two per cent.

“There’s so many things that I think that were already in the [act], you know, if people weren’t paying your rent, if people were damaging properties, all of those things are still the tools that are there,” Pillai said.

“We’ve got some tools that can provide some safety on both sides still.”

READ MORE: Yukon Liberals, NDP promise walk-in clinic, free transit, no-cause eviction ban with extended confidence deal

But the president of the Yukon Residential Landlord Association said it has been fielding calls from upset Yukoners — tenants, landlords and homeowners — who feel failed by the Yukon government.

“What has happened here is a ton of uncertainty in the market,” said Lars Hartling.

“It’s clear this was a political dealing.”

Hartling said the governing party and the opposition party are coming together in an alliance over “populist ideas and not actually consulting” on what could be “good social policy” that helps renters while supporting investment in the Yukon.

“Consultation in good faith cannot happen now,” he said.

“How can we have consultation, if we’ve been told what the rules are going to be?”

Hartling said the association has noticed a “cooling of the market” over the last 90 days as larger subsidized projects have come online and market rates have dramatically gone up.

“I don’t think anyone would be investing in the Yukon in those projects knowing what the rules are now,” he said.

Hartling said the ban on no-cause evictions appears to leave voids in ending tenancies.

“This, unfortunately, has been a big line in the sand for organization. This is extremely unfortunate,” he said.

“Very rarely does a landlord need to end a lease. And of course, we’re in the business of renting our places out. We’re not in the business of kicking people out of their units.”

Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon said his party has heard from landlords who are planning to exit the housing market by selling off their rental units or converting them.

“We have vociferously opposed the rent control policy that was imposed in the 2021 CASA, and now, unfortunately, the decision to extend that policy to include a ban on no-cause evictions makes things even worse,” he said.

“For a territory that so desperately needs more rental units, this is the type of policy that will send people running for the hills when it comes to ownership in the rental market. Nobody wants to be involved in the rental market when the government is involved or sticking their hands this far into the into the market.”

The Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce does not support a ban on no-cause evictions.

The chamber made its position clear in a Dec. 13, 2022, letter to now-Premier Ranj Pillai. The document, signed by the chamber’s chairs Allison Camenzuli and Ben Pereira, was submitted to the Yukon Legislative Assembly’s standing committee on public accounts to be considered in a public hearing on Yukon housing on Jan. 31.

The chamber’s letter describes evictions as a “tool for landlords to manage the risk they carry when renting out their property.”

“With less ability to manage the risk post-occupancy, we are concerned that landlords will adapt by taking less risk pre-occupancy, primarily by increasing their scrutiny of tenants’ employment history,” the letter reads.

“In an environment where landlords cannot take as much risk, Yukoners will be less able to find housing when they are self-employed, start new businesses or accept jobs at existing small businesses. This could discourage entrepreneurship and private sector employment for citizens and negatively impact the owners and customers of existing businesses.”

The premier was not available and cabinet communications did not respond to the News’ questions by press deadline.

READ MORE: Yukon government responds to concerns about unintended consequences of no-cause eviction ban

In a Feb. 2 email, Echo Ross, a spokesperson for the department of Community Services, said the Residential Tenancies Office has been receiving an increased number of calls and emails about the exemption regulation, as well as the renewal of the residential rent index.

“The aim of achieving stable, affordable housing is foundational to the health and wellbeing of all Yukoners. The Yukon government will continue to work with both landlords and tenants to evaluate these initiatives and our approach to solving this complex issue,” Ross said.

The department’s points of clarity on no-cause evictions include:

- The renewed confidence and supply agreement requires that the sections of the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act that allow a landlord to end a tenancy “without cause” are exempted from all tenancy agreements. The intent of the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act Exemption Regulation is to remove a landlord’s right to end a tenancy without cause, unless they or their family member will occupy the rental unit.

- Previously, as long as the landlord provided adequate notice, no specific reason was needed to be given for ending a tenancy.

- Landlords may still end a tenancy for cause as laid out in the act, which includes non-payment of rent, noise and disturbance or destruction of property. Landlords may also end a tenancy for a material breach of the tenancy agreement such as smoking in the rental unit if it is specified as non-smoking.

- The exemption regulation does not apply to notices to end tenancy without cause that have already been served. This means that if a landlord has served a tenant with a notice to end tenancy without cause before the exemption regulation took effect on Jan. 31, the normal processes of section 47 and section 49 apply. This includes the requirement for the tenant to dispute the notice within a certain timeframe.

- The exemption regulation applies only to current tenancy agreements. Therefore, after a tenancy ends, a landlord may convert the rental unit to a vacation accommodation or take it off of the rental market.

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
Read more