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.

 

Just Posted

Victoria’s little free libararies get 5,000th book

Volunteers have been dropping off books around Greater Victoria since 2017

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

Shamrocks hold 1-0 lead over Burrards

Bob Heyes said it is going to be a different game on Sunday in Maple Ridge

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

Most Read