The Yukon Party government tabled its revised Landlord and Tenant Act last week, after several years of promising to overhaul the law.
The current act was written in 1954. It hasn’t been substantially updated since 1972.
The NDP has pushed for a rewrite for years.
In 2008, the government agreed to conduct an internal review of the legislation, but nothing came of it.
A committee struck in 2010 consulted the Yukon public and put forward eight recommendations for areas of change to the act.
The government announced a further public survey in June 2012.
The new legislation, if passed, would see the creation of a residential tenancies office, where disputes between landlords and tenants could be resolved outside of the courts.
Landlords and tenants would be required to sign written tenancy agreements and jointly inspect the property and write a report on its condition at the start and end of the tenancy.
Landlords may collect a security deposit up to the equivalent of one month’s rent. They may not ask for the last month’s rent in addition to the security deposit.
Landlords may increase the rent no more than once annually, and would have to give three months’ notice to the tenant. There is no cap on the rent increase.
Either the landlord or the tenant may terminate the tenancy with 14 days notice if the other party is in breach of their obligations under the act.
Without cause, a landlord may evict a tenant with six months’ notice if the reason is a condo conversion, 18 months’ notice if the reason is a mobile home park closure, and two months’ notice for all other reasons.
The act notes that both the landlord and the tenant are responsible for keeping the property in good condition, but does not set out the specific standards.
“A landlord must provide and maintain residential property in a condition that complies with the health, safety and housing standards required by the regulations and other law; and having regard to the age, character and location of the rental unit, makes it suitable for occupation by the tenant,” states the bill.
A tenant, meanwhile, “must maintain reasonable health, cleanliness and sanitary standards throughout the rental unit.”
Tenants must pay for damage caused by themselves or their guests, but not for repairs due to “reasonable wear and tear.”
The act does not specify who would be required to pay, for example, to clean up a persistent mould or pest infestation.
Specific minimum rental standards will be developed over the coming months with input from Yukoners, according to a government news release.
One standard the government has committed to is that each rental unit will be equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
The NDP has announced a public meeting to discuss the new proposed legislation. It takes place on Nov. 7, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the first floor meeting room of the Whitehorse Public Library.
Contact Jacqueline Ronson at firstname.lastname@example.org