EDITORIAL: Changes would bring stability to B.C. renters

EDITORIAL: Changes would bring stability to B.C. renters

MLA task force calls for more protection for the province’s renters

An MLA task force is calling for more protection for the province’s renters. And with a vacancy rate hovering at just over one per cent and average rents climbing by more than $100 a month over the past year, the news couldn’t be more welcome for Capital Region residents who aren’t able to afford a home of their own.

The task force – made up of Saanich North and the Islands MLA Adam Olsen, Ronna-Rae Leonard of Courtenay-Comox and Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert – said the rules governing evictions to renovate a rental property need to be strengthened.

RELATED: Stop ‘renovictions,’ B.C. housing task force says

“One of most frequently mentioned challenges from renters was unfair evictions, including renovictions and other evictions, based on false claims,” the MLAs wrote in their report to the B.C. government. “They told the task force about how stressful it was to live with the constant threat of being forced from their home with too little time to find alternative housing in a challenging rental market.”

The report calls for changes to the Residential Tenancy Act that would allow tenants to remain in their homes during renovations as long as they are willing to accommodate construction. And with rental properties so hard to come by, it is likely a sizable portion of renters would put up with quite a bit to avoid being forced out into an ultra-competitive market.

READ ALSO: Renoviction shot down

The task force has already brought some financial relief for B.C. renters. The government adopted its recommendation back in September to limit annual rental increases to the rate of inflation. That change means landlords will be able to increase rents by 2.5 per cent in 2019, as opposed to the 4.5 per cent that would have been permitted under the previous formula.

The NDP’s election promise of a $400 grant for B.C. renters has yet to materialize. But the task force’s recommendation could prove even more valuable to those British Columbians who are most vulnerable to changing market conditions.

The provincial government should move quickly to adopt these latest recommendations that can offer a little more certainty to residents forced to plan for their future on a month-to-month basis.

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

Just Posted

BC Housing ensures that by March 31, shelter will be available to all people living outside. (Black Press Media file photo)
All unhoused Victoria residents will be offered shelter by March 31, says BC Housing

BC Housing working to secure shelter locations in coming weeks

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

Cathy Armstrong, executive director of the Land Conservancy, Paul Nursey CEO of Destination Greater Victoria and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice helped to kick off the annual Greater Victoria Flower Count at Abkhazi Garden Monday. This year, the flower count is less about rubbing the region’s weather in the rest of Canada’ faces, and more about extending a bouquet of compassion and love. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
2021 Greater Victoria Flower Count sows seeds of compassion

Friendly flower count competition runs from March 3 to 10

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read