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Statutes of Newfoundland 1997


CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 5

AN ACT TO AMEND THE RESIDENTIAL
TENANCIES ACT

(Assented to May 20, 1997)

Analysis

1. S.2 Amdt.
Definitions

2. S.5 Amdt.
Threats and harassment

3. S.10 Amdt.
Notice to quit

4. S.11 Amdt.
Group eviction

5. S.12 Amdt.
Declaration of invalidity

6. S.13 Amdt.
Rental increase

7. S.15 Amdt.
Security deposit

8. S.22 Amdt.
Abandonment by tenant

9. S.23 Amdt.
Abandoned personal property

10. S.24 R&S
Directors appointment and duties

11. Ss. 27, 28, 29, 30 & 31 Rep.
27. Residential Tenancies Boards
28. Meetings
29. Functions of board
30. Panels, composition, etc.
31. Quorums, majority and
jurisdiction

12. S.32 Amdt.
Rules of a hearing

13. S.33 Amdt.
Rules of a board

14. Ss. 34, 35, 36 & 37 Amdt.
34. Appearance before
board
35. Proof of signature
36. Setting rent
37. Appeal from
board

15. S.38 R&S
38. Application to director
38.1 Order of the director
38.2 Terms of order
38.3 Reconsideration of order
38.4 Appeal from director

16. S.39.1 Added Transition

17. S.40 Amdt.
Regulations

18. Commencement

Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened, as follows:


RSN1990 cR-14 as amended

1. Paragraphs 2(b), (c) and (d) of the Residential Tenancies Act are repealed and the following substituted:

(b) "director" means the Director of Residential Tenancies appointed under this Act;

2. Section 5 of the Act is amended by deleting the words "or objection" wherever they appear.

3. Subsection 10(7) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

(7) Where notice to quit is given by a landlord to a tenant and the landlord files an application under section 38 and requests an order for possession of the residential premises, the director may refuse to make an order where it appears that the notice to quit was given because of a resort by the tenant to a governmental authority concerning the residential premises or of an attempt by the tenant to enforce or secure rights.

4. (1) Section 11 of the Act is amended by deleting the words "the court" and "a judge" wherever they appear and replacing them with the words "the director".

(2) Subsection 11(6) of the Act is amended by deleting the words "the landlord shall apply to a board before again renting the residential premises and the board shall set the rent to be charged for the residential premises" and replacing them with the words "the landlord shall continue to charge the same rent as at the time of termination".

5. Section 12 of the Act is amended by deleting the words "Trial Division" and the word "court" wherever they appear and replacing them with the word "director".

6. Subsection 13(2) of the Act is amended by deleting the words "unless the landlord has applied to a board before increasing the rent and the landlords application to increase the rent has been approved".

7. Subsection 15(4) of the Act is amended by deleting the words and number "start a proceeding under section 38" and replacing them with the words and number "file an application under section 38".

8. Subsection 22(1) of the Act is repealed.

9. Paragraph 23(4)(a) of the Act is amended by deleting the words and number "of a judgment given under section 38" and replacing them with the words and number "awarded in an order under section 38".

10. Section 24 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Directors appointment and duties

24. (1) The Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall appoint a Director of Residential Tenancies for the purpose of this Act.

(2) The director is responsible for

(a) the general administration of the Act;

(b) exercising the powers and performing the duties of the director under this Act; and

(c) providing information to landlords and tenants and others respecting rights and obligations under this Act.

(3) The director may, on the directors own initiative, investigate and determine a matter arising under a tenancy agreement or this Act.

(4) The director may assign the duties, including mediation and adjudication of disputes, to the staff that the director may consider necessary.

(5) The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may appoint a Deputy Director of Residential Tenancies who, in the absence or incapacity of the director, shall perform the duties and exercise the powers of the director.

11. Sections 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 of the Act are repealed.

12. (1) Subsection 32(1) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Rules of a hearing

32. (1) The director may in relation to hearings prescribe rules of procedure and evidence and may order the type and nature of information to be provided by a person to the director before or during a hearing and that person shall provide the information to the director.

(2) Subsection 32(2) of the Act is amended by deleting the words "board" or "panel" and replacing them with the word "director" and by deleting the word "it" and replacing it with the words "the director".

(3) Subsections 32(3) and (4) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

(3) For the purposes of a hearing, the director and staff have the powers that are or may be conferred on a commissioner under the Public Inquiries Act, and the director and staff are considered to be an investigating body for the purpose of the Public Investigations Evidence Act, and there shall be full right to examine and cross-examine witnesses called and to bring forward evidence in response and reply, and section 3 of the Public Inquiries Act shall apply to the witnesses.

13. (1) Section 33 of the Act is amended by deleting the words "a board" and "the board" wherever they appear and replacing them with the words "the director".

(2) Subsection 33(1)(a) of the Act is amended by adding immediately after the word "them" the words and figures "other than as provided in subsection 38(3)".

14. Sections 34, 35, 36 and 37 of the Act are repealed.

15. Section 38 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Application to director

38. (1) Where a person applies to the director

(a) to determine a question arising under this Act; or

(b) alleging a breach of a tenancy agreement or a contravention of a provision of this Act,

and files with the director an application in the form prescribed by the minister, together with the fee, if any, prescribed by the minister, the director is the exclusive authority, at first instance, to investigate and endeavour to mediate a settlement.

(2) The director may refuse to accept an application or continue a proceeding where, in the directors opinion, the matter is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or has not been initiated in good faith, and may issue an order to that effect.

(3) Upon making an application under subsection (1), the applicant shall serve the other parties to the matter with a copy of the application by personal service or by registered mail.

(4) The director may permit a notice or document to be served in a manner other than provided for in subsection (3).

(5) On receiving an application under subsection (1), the director shall investigate and, subject to subsections (2) and (10), endeavour to mediate a settlement of the matter.

(6) The landlord and the tenant have the right to be represented by legal counsel at any stage of the proceedings.

(7) In exercising authority under this section, the director may determine and adopt the most expeditious method of investigating, mediating and determining a matter.

(8) An applicant may withdraw an application before a decision or order is made.

(9) Where a matter is settled by mediation, the director shall make a written record of the settlement which shall be signed by both parties and which is binding on the parties and is not subject to appeal.

(10) Where, after investigating the matter, the director is of the opinion that the parties are unlikely to settle it by mediation within 14 days, or if the matter is urgent and it involves the safety or security of the landlord, the tenant or other tenants, the director may make a decision or order in accordance with section 38.1.

(11) The director is not disqualified from making a decision or order respecting a matter by reason of having investigated or tried to mediate it.

(12) A landlord or tenant may file with the director an application for reconsideration of a decision under subsection 38.3(1).

(13) A decision or order under this section, upon being certified by the director and filed in the Trial Division, may be enforced in the same manner as any order or judgment of the Trial Division.

(14) An order, or part of an order, directing that the landlord be put into possession of the residential premises may be enforced by a person to whom it is directed, including a peace officer, as defined by the Criminal Code.

Order of the director

38.1 A decision or order by the director under section 38 may

(a) determine the rights and obligations of the persons party to a residential tenancy agreement;

(b) order the payment or repayment of money due persons party to a residential tenancies agreement;

(c) require a landlord or tenant who has contravened an obligation of a residential tenancy agreement to comply with or perform the obligation;

(d) require a landlord to compensate a tenant or a tenant to compensate a landlord for loss suffered or expense incurred as a result of the contravention or breach;

(e) grant an order of possession to a landlord on a specified date, if the tenancy has been terminated in accordance with this Act;

(f) authorize a tenant to offset an amount awarded as compensation for inconvenience against future rents;

(g) authorize a tenant to set off, in the manner specified in the order, money the landlord owes to the tenant against money the tenant owes to the landlord;

(h) authorize a landlord to set off, in the manner specified in the order, money the tenant owes to the landlord against money the landlord owes to the tenant;

(i) direct that a tenant, or specified tenants of an apartment complex, pay the rent or a specified part of the rent to the director;

(j) determine the validity of a notice to quit;

(k) determine the disposition of a security deposit; and

(l) make another decision or order to ensure compliance with the Act.

Terms of order

38.2 The director may include in an order under section 38.1 those terms and conditions the director considers appropriate.

Reconsideration of order

38.3 (1) An application for reconsideration of a decision under section 38.1 may be filed with the director on the form prescribed by the minister, together with the fee prescribed by the minister.

(2) An application for reconsideration shall be filed within 7 days after service of the decision of the director and shall specify the reasons for the request.

(3) The director may review all or part of his or her decision or order as considered necessary and may confirm, vary or cancel the decision or order.

Appeal from director

38.4 (1) An appeal lies to the Trial Division from a decision of the director.

(2) An appeal made under subsection (1) shall be made within 30 days following service of written notice of the decision of the director.

(3) The director is entitled to be heard by counsel upon the argument of an appeal.

(4) The practice and procedure under the Rules of the Supreme Court, 1986 relating to appeals apply to an appeal made under this section, with the exception of rule 57.03(2).

16. The Act is amended by adding the following immediately after section 39:

Transition

39.1 (1) Where on the coming into force of this section, a Residential Tenancies Board has begun to consider, review or hear a matter but has not given a decision or recommendation, the board remains seized with the matter until it gives its decision or recommendation.

(2) Where, on the coming into force of this section, an application has been made to a board or filed in the Trial Division but a board has not begun to consider, review or hear the matter, the application shall be considered to have been referred to the director.

17. Paragraph 40(a) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

(a) providing for exemptions from this Act;

Commencement

18. This Act shall come into force on a date to be proclaimed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.

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