BC leads the country in home evictions in the last five years

“I think if I received one of these (eviction) notices myself, I would never contest it.” — Zuzan Modrovic, Legal Advocate at TRAC

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BC homes were subject to evictions or “forced to move” more than in any other Canadian province, according to the latest data from the Canadian Housing Survey, conducted by Statistics Canada.

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The report stated that 3.6 percent of BC households, just over 75,000 families, had been forced to move out of their homes by landlords, banks or the government, in the five years to 2021.

That’s larger than the city of Kelowna, which reported a total of just over 62,000 households in the 2021 Census.

BC’s eviction figures stand out, at least in part, because the province allows evictions with a simple notice to tenants.

“In most if not all other provinces, eviction proceedings are initiated by a landlord who files something with the government agency,” said Zuzan Modrovic, a legal advocate with the Tenants Resource and Advice Center (TRAC) of B.C. The provincial agency would then decide whether to proceed with an eviction notice, based on information provided by the landlord.

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“All they have to do is send (the tenants) an eviction notice,” Modrovic said of BC landlords. “So it’s up to the tenant to decide if he wants to dispute it.”

“That alone,” he said, “creates a system where it’s easier to evict.”

BC’s reliance on the secondary rental market is another factor contributing to higher eviction rates.

“In the city of Vancouver, more than 50 percent of renters are in the secondary market,” said Andy Yan, director of the SFU City Program. He noted that the relatively informal system of basement suites so common in BC was “much more difficult to regulate.”

“Eastern cities and in particular older cities in Quebec and Ontario have a much better purpose-built rental system,” Yan said.

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Roughly two percent of households in Ontario and Quebec were evicted in the five years prior to 2021, significantly less than BC’s 3.6 percent.

Yan called the available data on evictions in BC “poor” and suggested the government should share “geographically detailed” but anonymous tenant data from the residential tenancy board with academic researchers, similar to California gentrification risk data posted. available for the Urban Displacement Project.

The 2021 BC eviction figure represents a decrease from 2018, when more than 83,000 families, 4.2% of BC households, reported being “forced to move” in the previous five years.

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According to Statistics Canada, data collection for the 2021 Canadian Housing Survey took place from January to June 2021 and was limited to the 10 provinces and three territorial capitals due to COVID-19 restrictions. The estimates were produced using population estimates from the 2016 census.

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