An amendment introduced by the opposition Greens will mean P.E.I. tenants who are facing an eviction because of renovation of a property could have more time to appeal these evictions.
On Tuesday night, an amendment to the Rental of Residential Property Act was passed in the legislature. The amendment would change the time limit from 10 to 20 days for tenants wishing to appeal an eviction due to renovations before the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.
The amendment would also apply to evictions carried out for personal use of apartments and to conversion of apartments for use other than residential.
The timeline for filing eviction appeals for other reasons, such as for damage to property or for failure to pay rent, would remain at 10 days.
"It doesn't change the timeframe of an eviction notice but it gives people more time to file and appeal," said Charlottetown-Belvedere MLA Hannah Bell, who introduced the amendment.
"The process is challenging, you have to go to IRAC, you need a ton of paperwork. It just gives people a little bit more window to actually get a formal appeal filed."
Bell said she brought forward the amendment because she believes there has been an increase in both "renovictions" and of conversions of long-term rental properties to short-term rental. She said the amendment would allow tenants more of an opportunity to have due process if they believe a landlord has failed to follow tenancy law.
Bell said she has also heard that staff at the Office of the Director of Residential Rental Property, the division of IRAC that deals with tenancy issues, have seen increasing calls from tenants in recent months.
She suggested that further reform of tenancy legislation in P.E.I. was needed in order to protect renters.
"I do genuinely think that, as I mentioned on the floor, this entire Act needs to be reviewed and overhauled, which includes looking at IRAC," Bell said.
Bell said she believed the amendments passed Tuesday may allow tenants more space to exercise their rights.