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Yukon’s new Landlord and Tenant Act becomes law

Mandatory tenant agreements and limited rent increases are among the provisions in Yukon’s new Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. The act has just been proclaimed into law, three years after it was first introduced.

“I think it provides a good balance, in that landlords know what’s expected of them, and tenants know what their rights are,” says Shane Hickey, Yukon’s director of Employment Standards and Residential Tenancies.

Yukon’s old legislation was “just not built for 21st century living,” Hickey says. He believes the new law “creates more clarity.”

Under the new rules, which come into effect Jan. 1, 2016, landlords are not allowed to increase rent within the first year of tenancy, and only once a year after that.

The law also makes written tenancy agreements mandatory.

“There definitely are people who would still have the ‘unwritten rules’ which, as we know, are very difficult to enforce in the event there’s a problem,” Hickey says. “It’s very difficult to see what that agreement was.”

The law will also establish a dispute resolution office for landlords and tenants, to “take it out of the courts,” according to Hickey.

The law covers most tenants in Yukon, including hotel and motel residents who stay longer than six months. People in emergency shelters, some private care facilities, and correctional institutes are not covered by the law.

No rent caps

Yukon’s opposition NDP says it took too long to adopt the new legislation, and the new rules don’t go far enough.
“What we really wanted to see in that was a cap on rents, and a reason for eviction,” says MLA Kevin Barr.

Barr also says mobile homeowners are not protected by the new rules. He says there should be limits on rental prices for pads, “where people may be getting evicted or getting priced out of a place to have their mobile home.”

After the new rules come into effect in January, landlords will have one year to make upgrades to meet the new standards.

CBC News