June 30, 2017

Legislation to Help Renters Fleeing Interpersonal Violence Comes Into Force

As of July 1, 2017, new rights will be provided to renters who are fleeing situations of interpersonal violence and abuse.

“These amendments make it clear that no one should have to prioritize a rental agreement above their own personal safety,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said.  “With these amendments, victims of interpersonal violence will be able to put their safety first when escaping dangerous domestic situations.”

Under The Victims of Interpersonal Violence Amendment Act, 2017 tenants will be allowed to end fixed-term tenancy agreements with 28 days’ notice if they or their family members are being abused by another resident or former resident.

Tenants will require a certificate from the Ministry of Justice’s Victims Services Branch stating that they, their child, or an adult under their care has been a victim of interpersonal violence or is at risk of interpersonal violence.

The certificate will be provided to the tenant by the branch upon receipt of a statement by police, a victim services agency, or other professionals identified in the legislation, indicating that the tenant or their family members are victims or at risk of becoming victims of interpersonal violence.  A certificate may also be issued in cases where a protective order is in place.  Once the tenant has the certificate, they can provide notice to their landlord in person, by mail or electronically.  The tenant must provide the certificate to their landlord within 90 days of its being issued.

Tenants also have the option to request that the landlord apply their security deposit to rent owing.  Once notice is provided, the tenancy agreement ends for all persons living in the premises.  Under this process, the tenant is not responsible for any penalties for early termination contained in the rental agreement.