A provincial rental housing industry association has launched a new registry to allow tenants to screen potential landlords in Victoria’s hot rental market.
Earlier this week, LandlordBC launched the registry, which requires landlords to complete a two-hour online course to familiarize landlords with the Residential Tenancy Act.
Once the course is complete, landlords complete a test and if they pass, receive an ‘I Rent it Right’ certificate and are entered into the database which renters can search when looking for a landlord.
David Hutniak, CEO of LandlordBC, said the registry takes aim at the secondary rental market, such as landlords who have operated basement suites, condos, or small investors with rental properties for months or several years.
Some landlords enter the business, simply to help pay the mortgage, but Hutniak said it still requires knowledge of the tenancy act to ensure they’re not open to legal action.
“This is going to help (landlords) manage their business more effectively, it’s going to mitigate risk for them. More importantly, they’re going to understand their rights, they’re going to understand tenant rights and what we want them to do is respect tenant rights,” said Hutniak, adding there are roughly 52,000 to 54,000 rental units in Victoria proper, roughly half of which are the secondary market.
“The quality of the landlord drives the quality of the product. It’s a game changer for small landlords.”
Derek Pinto is one of those landlords. For the past two-and-a-half years he’s operated four rental suites in his home in Victoria. Pinto was one of the first landlords in the province to complete the course, adding it helped him understand the basics of the tenancy act and how to implement it, as well as the do’s and don’ts of being a landlord.
“Landlords are providing a service, tenants are your customers. Your objective is to give your customer satisfaction. I want to be the best landlord I can be,” he said. “Tenants will appreciate it if their landlords are on the ball . . . it could make for an easier landlord-tenant relationship.”
The registry is meant to benefit renters, such as North Park resident Ce Cayne as well. For the past few years, Cayne said he’s been bullied by the building landlord into leaving his apartment and believes he was unfairly served several eviction notices.
But Cayne, who has multiple-sclerosis and cancer and has rented his entire life, is aware of the rights that all renters have, but isn’t sure his landlord is.
“I’m going to hold them accountable to the law. I want renters to be conscious. I want them to know that most landlords are good people, but some of them are bullies,” he said, adding the registry is a great idea.
While the program isn’t mandatory, Hutniak is hopeful peer pressure in the market will encourage more landlords to get certified.
It costs $39 plus GST to earn the three-year certification. For more information visit landlordregistry.ca.