Tenant Assistance Policy

As of June 12, 2023 the District of Saanich's Tenant Assistance Policy (TAP) applies to all rezoning applications where five or more tenant-occupied dwelling units are being permanently vacated. This includes units both in the primary and secondary rental market (e.g., purpose-built rental units, secondary suites, rented single family homes, rented condominiums, etc.). Non-market housing providers are exempt from the TAP.

Information for Applicants

Rezoning applications meeting the above criteria must include a Tenant Assistance Plan, describing how current tenants will be supported as per the policy requirements. Applicants, please refer to the package provided below when preparing the Tenant Assistance Plan in advance of submitting your application.

Any TAP related questions in the pre-application stage can be directed to planning@saanich.ca.

FAQ for Tenants

  • What is the Tenant Assistance Policy?

The Tenant Assistance Policy (TAP) is a new Saanich policy that requires support for tenants who are having to move out of their homes because of redevelopment or major renovations. The policy states that development applications meeting certain criteria must include a Tenant Assistance Plan, describing how tenants will be supported and compensated through the process.

This is in addition to what is legally required by the BC Residential Tenancy Act in situations where tenants are being evicted due to demolition or substantial renovations.

  • I just found out that the building I live in may be redeveloped or renovated, does the building owner have to follow the Tenant Assistance Policy?

There are two things that determine if the property owner must follow the Tenant Assistance Policy.

  1. Are they applying to Saanich for rezoning of the property?
    Saanich only has legal authority to apply the TAP if the development application includes a proposal to change the zoning of the property (rezone). While any property owner that wants to demolish or substantially renovate a dwelling unit would need to apply for building permit(s) at a minimum, a Rezoning is not always needed.
  2. Are there a total of at least five rented units that will be permanently vacated?
    The TAP only applies to rezoning applications where a total of five or more rented units will have to be permanently vacated due to demolition or major renovations. Note that this refers to the number of dwelling units (as defined in the Zoning Bylaw), not the number individuals affected. It does not matter what kinds of rental units they are (e.g., secondary suites, apartments, etc.) and they can be spread out in several buildings or over several lots that are part of the same development application.

If the project does not meet those two criteria, the owner is not required to follow the TAP. Tenants in these situations still have all the rights of the BC Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). Property owners are encouraged to still offer tenants support beyond what they are legally required to in the RTA, and can use the TAP as an example of good practice.

  • What does the law say about eviction of tenants for the purpose of demolition or renovations?

British Columbia’s Residential Tenancy Act regulates the legal rights and responsibilities of residential tenants and landlords. The RTA determines when and how tenants can be evicted, including how many months in advance notice must be served and how much compensation must be provided. Because there are changes to the RTA from time to time, it is recommended that tenants visit the BC Residential Tenancy Branch for the most up to date information, or contact them directly.

Residential Tenancies - Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca)
Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch - Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca)
By phone: 250-387-1602

  • What type of support should be included in the Tenant Assistance Plan?

Eligible tenants (i.e., all tenants currently on the property when an application is submitted to the District) should be offered:

  • Assistance with finding suitable new rental housing
  • Right of First Refusal, to return at a discounted rent rate once the development project is completed (if applicable)
  • Compensation for moving expenses
  • Rent compensation based on length of tenancy

For the full requirements, please review the Tenant Assistance Policy.

  • Why do we need a Tenant Assistance Policy?

The Housing Strategy includes many actions aimed at promoting and protecting rental housing in the District, with development of a TAP being a Top 12 priority. Most rental apartment buildings in Saanich were built before the 1990’s, and as buildings age they become more likely to be considered for redevelopment or major renovations. The new policy will add protection to current renters in Saanich, as we work to encourage more rental housing development and upgrading of existing buildings.

  • How was TAP developed?

The TAP was developed after studying similar policies in place in other municipalities and discussing options with Saanich renters, market housing organizations, and non-market housing organizations (during the fall of 2022). The full staff report includes more information about this process.