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BC Green bill looks to allow tenants to break lease if feeling threatened

Last Updated May 15, 2019 at 2:07 pm PDT

FILE - B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver speaks in the halls of the BC Legislature on Jan. 22, 2019. (Liza Yuzda, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Currently, tenants are able to break lease if feeling threatened by family member, not roommate or neighbor

If voted into law, bill would come into effect later this year of in 2020

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The Leader of the BC Greens says a bill, one step away from becoming law, would allow renters to break a lease if they feel threatened.

Andrew Weaver says existing law — brought in by the BC Liberals four years ago — allows you to do that but only if the threat is from a family member.

“It didn’t encompass situations where you might be sharing a condominium with a roommate in a separate room, didn’t envision issues with respect to perhaps some landlord issues,” Weaver says.

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He says his party’s bill would expand protections.

“It can be a landlord, roommate, other people in your building and so forth,” Weaver explains. “So the idea here, is to protect people in their homes to ensure that they have a safe place to live.”

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The party says an example of tenants feeling unsafe comes from their own MLA Sonia Furstenau, when she was living with a roommate when she was younger.

“Went fine for a couple of months and then one night she woke up and found that roommate was standing in her bedroom,” Weaver says. “She felt very unsafe and this was a situation which required her to leave, fast.”

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The bill has to get through one more vote to become law, which Weaver expected pointing to support it has received from across all parties.

If it becomes law, he expects it would come into effect later this year or sometime in 2020.