Give input to the Residential Tenancy Act
As the ministry responsible for the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, the PEI Department of Education and Lifelong Learning is inviting Islanders to take part in a public engagement process on legislation related to landlord and tenant rights.
The Residential Tenancy Act is new legislation that will be considered by the Legislative Assembly. If the Legislative Assembly votes to pass this Act, it will replace the Rental of Residential Property Act. The new Act will provide a modern legislative framework for the rental of residential property, and better protect tenants and landlords while addressing the realities of the current housing situation in Prince Edward Island.
Share Your Opinion
The Government of Prince Edward Island is asking Islanders to share views on the proposed Act. You can provide input in several ways, as follows:
Public Consultation Sessions
All sessions are cancelled at this time. We encourage everyone to submit written comments and to complete the survey from the link below.
Please include your views on:
- wording of the draft Residential Tenancy Act
- processes that may assist in the implementation of this proposed Act
- impacts the proposed Act may have on your organization or those you represent
Is my feedback confidential?
Any feedback from an individual, non-profit group or business via the online survey will remain confidential.
Background and Explanation of Proposed Act
The Rental of Residential Property Act is the current law that governs residential tenants and landlords on Prince Edward Island. It contains the rules for rent increases, evictions, repairs and many other issues that affect tenants and landlords. This Act is more than 30 years old.
The proposed Residential Tenancy Act better balances the rights of tenants and landlords. It addresses important issues such as “reno-victions”, tenants’ right to privacy, and making the legal process simpler. Prince Edward Island’s low vacancy rates make this proposed legislation especially relevant.
Highlights of the proposed Act include:
- Better transparency and predictability of annual rent increases and greater than allowable rent increases
- More notice for tenants for units undergoing renovations, conversions, or demolitions
- More protection for landlords when a tenant fails to pay rent
- Tenants’ right to first refusal which means once renovations are finished, the landlord must offer the rental unit to the original tenant
- Options for landlords to terminate a rental agreement early in circumstances involving significant threats to the property or the safety of other tenants
- Tenants’ right to end their lease early because of family violence or because they are entering long-term care
How will the new legislation impact existing tenancies?
The proposed Act will govern all rental agreements, including those that already exist. If your current rental agreement or lease conflicts with the new Act, the rules in the Act will be followed. Landlords and tenants cannot make rental agreements that ignore rules in the legislation. Any new rental agreement entered into after the Act is in force is required to be in writing.
New areas and significant changes in the proposed Act
Director of Residential Tenancy
The Director of Residential Tenancy (currently referred to as the Director of Residential Rental Property) oversees the Rental Division located within the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC). The Office is the Tribunal that settles disputes between landlords and tenants. Currently, the Rental of Residential Property Act mandates and governs the Office of the Director of Residential Rental Property.
Under the new Act, the Director of Residential Tenancy can investigate cases and enter rental properties with the permission of the tenant or with a search warrant. The Director can also inspect and make copies of records. Under the proposed Act, the Director of Residential Tenancy can also determine disputes between landlords and tenants by reviewing their written submissions instead of requiring the parties to appear in person. The Director also has new powers to mediate a settlement in certain circumstances.
If someone violates the Act or an Order of the Director, they will be required to pay an administrative penalty which has been increased to a maximum of $10,000. Any person who violates the Act or an Order has the right to be heard by the Director before a penalty is given. If a landlord acts in bad faith by giving an eviction notice dishonestly, the Director can order them to compensate the tenant for expenses related to the eviction.
Security Deposits and Fees
A new process to establish security deposits and fees is proposed in the new Act.Landlords can charge tenants a security deposit. This deposit cannot be more than one week’s rent for weekly rentals and cannot be more than one month’s rent for all other rentals.
Under the new Act, landlords and tenants are required to complete both a pre-move in and post-move out inspection. During these inspections, an inspection report must be completed and signed by both the landlord and the tenant.
Landlords must return the security deposit within 15 days after a tenant moves out. If a landlord has reason to keep all or part of the security deposit, the landlord must make an application to the Director for approval. This application must be made within 15 days of ending the rental agreement.
A landlord cannot take any deposit other than a security deposit. Under the proposed Act, a landlord can charge fees for:
- the actual cost of replacing keys or providing additional keys
- a financial institution service fee charged for the return of a tenant’s cheque
- an administration fee for the return of a tenant’s cheque (maximum $25)
- a fee for services that were not originally included in the rental agreement, and later requested by the tenant
The proposed Act outlines a newly defined process to determine annual rent increases that is tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
A landlord can only increase a unit’s rent once a year. If it is a weekly rental, the landlord must provide the tenant with 3 weeks’ notice of the rent increase. For all other rentals, the landlord must provide the tenant with 3 months’ notice of the rent increase. Landlords cannot increase rent beyond the guideline amount. The Director calculates the guideline amount each year following a prescribed formula in the proposed Act and based on the CPI. If a landlord wants to increase the rent beyond the guideline amount, they must make an application to the Director for approval. Rent increases follow the guideline amount even when one tenant moves out and another tenant moves in. Landlords cannot raise the rent beyond the guideline amount between tenants.
The proposed Act outlines a number of additional factors the Director can consider when determining whether a greater than allowable increase in rent is allowed. These new factors give both landlords and tenants more clarity.
The proposed Act provides shorter time lines for evictions if a tenant does not pay rent. The new legislation protects landlords when a tenant fails to pay rent. A landlord can give an eviction notice the day after rent is late. The tenant must pay the rent or challenge the eviction within 7 days of receiving the notice. If the tenant does not pay the rent or challenge the eviction within 7 days of receiving the notice, the tenant must move out after 14 days of receiving the notice. In cases where a tenant refuses to move out, the landlord can file an application to the Director for an order that the tenant must move out. The Sheriff can enforce the order.
The proposed Act defines a new process for tenants who abandon a rental property and leave their belongings. If a tenant moves out and leaves their belongings behind, the landlord must take an inventory of the tenant’s abandoned property. They must provide this inventory to the Director and to the tenant, if the tenant’s location is known. The landlord will then have three options:
- store the personal items in a safe storage facility;
- store the personal items on the residential property;
- apply to the Director to dispose of the property if storage is unsafe or too costly.
If the tenant does not collect their property within one month, the landlord may sell it and deduct any storage costs from the proceeds of sale.
The proposed Act prescribes a new process for landlords who evict tenants to renovate a unit or multiple units. A landlord may evict a tenant to make major renovations. The proposed renovations must be significant enough to require a building permit and an empty unit. When evicting a tenant for renovations, the landlord must give the tenant 6 months’ notice.
The tenant can make an application to the Director to cancel the eviction notice.
Any landlord that wrongly evicts a tenant may have to pay a large penalty.
The new legislation allows tenants the right of first refusal which means once renovations are finished, the landlord must offer the rental unit to the original tenant if the tenant chooses to exercise their right of first refusal. Tenants can claim compensation from the landlord for a renovation eviction if the property has more than 20 units.
Families with School-Aged Children
The proposed Act prescribes new limitations for evictions during the school year for a tenants living with school-aged children. A landlord cannot evict a tenant living with school-aged children during the school year. This is true unless the tenant does not pay their rent or there is cause, such as the tenant causing extensive damage to the property.
A tenant can end a rental agreement early if they or one of their dependents has experienced family violence.
The new legislation allows both tenants and landlords to service documents electronically if an electronic address is provided.
Other Key Elements of the Act
Landlord Entering a Rental Unit
Landlords must respect tenants’ privacy and may only enter an occupied residential property when:
- the tenant has given permission
- the landlord requires entry to do repairs or to inspect
- a potential buyer wants to view the property
- a potential tenant wants to view the property
- there is an emergency
Landlords must provide 24 hours written notice to tenants in all cases except emergencies.
Rental Property Maintenance
Landlords must ensure that the rental property is suitable for occupation. A tenant can end their rental agreement or lease early if their landlord does not keep the property suitable for occupation as outlined in the Act.
If an emergency repair is needed and the tenant cannot contact the landlord or the landlord refuses to complete the repair in a reasonable time, the tenant may repair the damage and provide receipts to the landlord for repayment. In cases where the landlord does not repay the receipts, the tenant can apply to the Director for permission to deduct the expense from their rent.A landlord is not required to reimburse a tenant for emergency repairs when the damage leading to the repair is found to be caused by the tenant.
Landlord May Request Earlier Termination Date
If a landlord evicts a tenant for cause and there is concern for the safety of the property or other tenants, a landlord can make an application to take possession of the rental unit before the usual eviction period.
Send your written submission by mail or email to this address:
Residential Tenancy Act Consultations
Department of Education and Lifelong Learning
Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3
Attention: Legislative and Planning Coordinator