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.

 

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

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Cloverdale’s Coldest Night of the Year charity walk raises $125K

Annual event sees more than 500 walkers take part

Man pleads guilty to stabbing woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

The suspect, whose name is under a publication ban, faced 10 charges in relation to this incident

All-Surrey battle for South Fraser boys basketball title

At Tamanawis, the top four teams will go to provincials

Surrey RCMP boss Brian Edwards on moving forward, and what keeps him awake at night

Edwards spoke with Now-Leader reporter Tom Zytaruk about what he’s learning and hopes to accomplish as Surrey’s top cop

Hopes are for ‘focus on Surrey investments’ when Horgan speaks in March

Luncheon at golf course planned by Surrey Board of Trade

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

UPDATE: Protesters dismantle blockade on Maple Ridge tracks

West Coast Express train service is expected to run again Tuesday morning

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Motorists were ‘driving like their own Indy 500’ before fatal Abbotsford crash, court hears

Family member declares defence request for 90-day jail sentence a ‘joke’

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Most Read