(Vancouver Tenants Union)

(Vancouver Tenants Union)

Tenants union pushes back against B.C.’s 4.5% rent increase

They say it’s the highest rent increase in 15 years

About a week after the province announced it will be allowing a 4.5 per cent rent rate increase, many are asking where the B.C. NDP’s renters’ rebate – a campaign promise – is.

“We’ve been working with our Green partners into a position where they can support the renters’ rebate,” Premier John Horgan told reporters following the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler Friday.

But the Vancouver Tenants Union isn’t convinced.

“Instead of standing up for renters, it looks like the government is going to let the highest rent increase in 15 years happen,” the group said in a statement online. “There are 60,000 families in Metro Vancouver who spend more than 50 [per cent] of their income on housing, leaving us with very little money to cover our basic necessities.”

READ MORE: B.C. rent increase can’t go over 4.5% next year

The union spent Thursday protesting outside of the Landlord BC office in Vancouver.

“Landlords already have enough, you don’t have to protect them,” Jean Swanson told a crowd of fellow protesters.

“The majority of people in Vancouver are tenants and if you don’t protect us we will elect governments who will.”

A report to government probing the rental rate formula, and other ways to help renters, is expected next week.

“I’m confident [the report] will have something to say about the formula, which was put into place by the BC Liberal government in 2003-2004,” Horgan said.

“Wages have not gone up 4.5 per cent. This has been an extraordinary year for inflation at 2.5 per cent which makes up that 4.5 per cent [increase].”

However, the formula won’t be changed until the government has time to review alternatives.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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