Townhouse construction: industry says new supply is the solution to shortage of rental housing as well as high purchase prices.

B.C. aiming to improve tenant protection

Housing Minister Rich Coleman says solution to rent increase loophole will take time, NDP's John Horgan wants action now

The B.C. government is considering legislation to close a loophole that allows landlords to raise rents beyond provincial limits using fixed-term leases.

The current law restricts annual rent increases to no more than two per cent plus the rate of inflation, a maximum of 3.7 per cent for increases that take effect in 2017.

In a tight urban rental market, some landlords get around the cap with lease termination clauses that allow them to set rent higher in a new lease, for the existing or a new tenant.

In extreme cases, there have been bidding wars for rented as well as purchased homes in Metro Vancouver. LandlordBC, the professional association for owners and managers of rental housing, says the practice violates its business standards and is confined to “a small cohort” of owners.

B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman issued a statement this week after the latest opposition call for action to protect tenants.

Coleman said the province is “looking at options to ensure fixed-term tenancies continue to balance the needs of both tenants and landlords and that parties are acting consistently with the intent of the Residential Tenancy Act around annual allowable rent increases.”

Coleman said legislation “will take some time to complete” and in the meantime, parties who have signed a lease are bound by its terms, including termination.

NDP leader John Horgan blasted Coleman for inaction on the situation, which opposition critics have raised repeatedly as rental housing has become scarcer.

“With some unscrupulous landlords, they’re evicting and forcing tenants to sign a one-year lease,” Horgan said. “Mr. Coleman’s fixation on LNG at the expense of addressing issues for renters, I think is the problem.”

Horgan said several housing issues could be addressed now if the B.C. Liberals had followed their own schedule and convened a fall sitting of the legislature. Another change the NDP wants is to free universities and colleges to construct new student housing.

The rental shortage is so bad that students are “forced to sleep in cars, they’re forced to couch-surf, they’re forced to sleep in academic buildings,” Horgan said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Small crowd gathers to watch 231-tonne stacker-reclaimer load onto barge crane

The Dynamic Beast barge crane, known for work with Johnson Street Bridge, makes a return

National Drug Drop-Off month aims to reduce substance abuse by house-bound youth

Expert says there is misconception prescribed medication is safe to take

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Auxiliary hosts pop-up fundraiser in Sidney

Temporary store to feature unique hand made gifts, collectibles, clothing, books and more

Victoria mayor wants newspaper boxes removed from downtown streets

Mayor Lisa Helps says the boxes are not needed, often filled with garbage

Esquimalt artists take to great outdoors amid coronavirus

Group invites budding, or just willing artists, to join at Saxe Point

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read