Photo by designer491/iStock

EDITORIAL: Enforcement the key to affecting change

Tenants will play a key role in making newly enacted renter protections work as intended

It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.

We’ve heard that our whole lives, and while some may find the old adage slightly out of style, this month it rings true for B.C. renters, including some right here in Victoria.

Earlier this month the province announced new protections for renters in an effort to combat renovictions, mandating tenants be provided with more time to find alternate housing or to file disputes, as well as receive better compensation from landlords who force tenants out and then change their plans for renovations.

With the housing crisis in full swing from Vancouver to Vanderhoof, the new guidelines were like a life ring tossed into a sea of people bordering on homelessness as landlords feasted, eager to cash in on higher rents.

The key to making sure these rules do indeed affect change, however, will be in making sure they are enforced, and the only way to do that is if people who feel they’ve been wronged speak up.

In Victoria, residents of a social housing complex that aimed to give former tent city residents a roof over their heads did exactly that. Renters at 844 Johnson St. took the building’s manager, the Portland Hotel Society, to court – and won – having grown tired of having restrictions imposed upon them they say market renters don’t suffer.

Having guests over, or allowing people to enter the building without identification are rights a typical renter thinks very little about, but because these tenants live in subsidized housing, they argued, they were being treated as second-class citizens.

As generations begin to get priced out of home ownership, the number of people in this province who rent is steadily rising. It has nothing to do with one’s education level or income, race or even gender. It is quickly just becoming the norm.

Thankfully, the powers that be are recognizing that no matter who you are, rights and protections are non-negotiable and everyone deserves the right to a safe and stable home.

Maybe soon we won’t hear “money talks” any more, either.

Rent protection

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

Just Posted

Greater Victoria woman creates ‘call list’ for seniors to tackle loneliness

Call list allows seniors to have some friendly conversation during isolating times

Report looks at COVID-19’s impact on violence in the family

Police across Canada reported almost 100,000 cases of intimate partner violence in 2018

Saanich’s Shelbourne corridor work set to start despite pandemic

Municipal work is deemed an essential service, keeping the long-term project on track

Royal Athletic Park will not be a shelter site during COVID-19 crisis: Victoria mayor

Indoor sites to be coordinated with Island Health, BC Housing

BC Ferries further reduces sailings in response to COVID-19

Any sailing reservations cancelled due to schedule changes will be refunded

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

Thieves steal $5,000 worth of cigarettes and candy from semi trailer in Nanaimo

Culprits hit truckload in shipping company storage yard on Old Victoria Road on Monday

Most Read