But at times, it's clear the drafters got lazy. Or intentionally left the statute vague. Sometimes intentional vagueness makes sense; we have judges and adjudicators to deal with issues that are not cut and dry and require judgement. But sometimes statues that are vague leave the parties with little direction and at risk of being sued. I think in this case it was plain laziness!
- How much notice the landlord has to give the returning tenant of the proposed work completion/return date?
- What happens if the landlord can’t get in touch with them despite their best efforts?
- If the landlord does give them
days notice to re-occupy, how long does the tenant have to “firm up” the return so that the landlord knows they haven’t changed their mind? Does the tenant even have to firm it up?
- What if the unit is ready in November, and the landlord gives them notice of the date, and the tenant says “yes, I’m returning, but not until January"?
- How long should the landlord wait to hear back from the tenant, before they attempt to re-rent to a new tenant?
- What is the remedy for the tenant if the landlord simply re-rents the unit?
- The statute talks about the tenant providing a forwarding “address”, not email or phone number. Is it sufficient to write the former tenants?
- What if the landlords send a letter to the address that was provided, it's returned undeliverable, and you have their email or phone? Are you supposed to try? Who has the onus?
Like much of landlord and tenant law, it's a mess. The Liberal government has repeatedly ignored obvious deficiencies and shortcomings of the statute, and has even ignored decisions by the Court of Appeal which overruled clear legislative intent based on their own (unusual) statutory interpretation. The solution when that happens is supposed to be a dialogue between the courts and the legislators, but the legislators remain silent.