Prov­ince cuts rent in­crease to ease pres­sure on renters NDP play­ing games with renters & land­lords: Lib­er­als

Asian Journal - - FRONT PAGE -

Van­cou­ver: The Min­is­ter of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs and Hous­ing is lis­ten­ing to the con­cerns of renters and tak­ing ac­tion on an early rec­om­men­da­tion from B.C.’S Rental Hous­ing Task Force by cut­ting the an­nual al­low­able rent in­crease by 2%, lim­it­ing it to in­fla­tion.

That means that ef­fec­tive Jan. 1, 2019, the an­nual al­low­able rent in­crease will be 2.5%.

“It’s sim­ply not sus­tain­able for renters, many of whom are on fixed in­comes, to see their rent in­crease by more than in­fla­tion each and ev­ery year,” said Premier John Hor­gan. “We have to elim­i­nate the risk of such huge in­creases for renters. Our new ap­proach strikes a bal­ance be­tween giv­ing relief to renters while en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to main­tain their rental prop­er­ties.” The pre­vi­ous for­mula, set in 2004, al­lowed an­nual rent in­creases of 2% plus in­fla­tion.

As a re­sult of elim­i­nat­ing the ad­di­tional 2% in­crease, peo­ple liv­ing in a $1,200 per month apart­ment (av­er­age rent Vic­to­ria: BC Lib­eral MLA Todd Stone is call­ing on the NDP to fo­cus on in­creas­ing the sup­ply of hous­ing across the prov­ince in­stead of play­ing games with renters, land­lords, builders, and the BC econ­omy.

“What you have here is yet an­other NDP pol­icy fail­ure straight out of the gate,” re­marked Stone. “John Hor­gan broke his prom­ise to pro­vide a $400 renter’s re­bate, and in­stead of in B.C.) could save up to $288 in 2019 over what they could have paid un­der the old for­mula. Peo­ple in an av­er­age tak­ing ac­tion on this rent in­crease pol­icy weeks ago, putting un­due stress on renters and land­lords alike, he waited un­til to­day.” In con­trast to the 4.5% al­low­able in­crease an­nounced ear­lier this month, the pol­icy will now only al­low land­lords to in­crease rent by in­fla­tion.

“Land­lords are now be­ing told that when they need to do main­te­nance and ren­o­va­tions they will have to ap­ply to the gov­ern­ment to be able to af­ford it,” added Stone. “The ar­du­ous bureau­cratic process to ap­prove them will re­sult in land­lords hav­ing lit­tle in­cen­tive to ren­o­vate age­ing hous­ing stock in cities like Van­cou­ver and Vic­to­ria.” two-bed­room apart­ment in Van­cou­ver could have faced pay­ing up to $432 more over the course of the year. “We rec­og­nize sup­ply is key to bring­ing down rental costs in the long term, but renters have told us they are hurt­ing and need help to­day,” said Selina Robin­son, Min­is­ter of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs and Hous­ing. “That’s why we are tak­ing care­ful steps to ad­dress the hous­ing cri­sis and ease the pres­sure on renters, while also mak­ing sure that land­lords have the tools they need to con­tinue to in­vest in their rental prop­er­ties.” The Res­i­den­tial Ten­ancy Branch will work closely with land­lord ad­vo­cacy groups on ex­panded cir­cum­stances un­der which land­lords could ap­ply for an ad­di­tional rent in­crease to re­flect the costs of main­tain­ing their rental prop­er­ties. “Our Rental Hous­ing Task Force mem­bers have heard time and again that renters are strug­gling to pay yearly max­i­mum rent in­creases, while ba­sic re­pairs and build­ing main­te­nance are left un­done,” said Spencer Chan­dra Her­bert,

Rental Hous­ing Task Force chair and Premier’s Ad­vi­sor on Res­i­den­tial Ten­ancy. “Taken to­gether, these changes will make rent more af­ford­able for British Columbians, while also help­ing en­sure needed re­pairs are com­pleted to main­tain and im­prove rental hous­ing.”

The Rental Hous­ing Task Force is made up of

• Spencer Chan­dra Her­bert, MLA for Van­cou­ver-west End;

• Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Is­lands; and

• Ronna-rae Leonard, MLA for Court­ney-co­mox.

They have con­ducted in-per­son and on­line con­sul­ta­tions about rent­ing in B.C. and will be re­leas­ing fur­ther rec­om­men­da­tions on ways to mod­ern­ize the Con­fi­dence and Sup­ply Agree­ment. Quick Facts:

Todd Stone

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