Task force says B.C. should base rent hikes solely on inflation

27 Septembre, 2018, 13:06 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Task force says B.C. should base rent hikes solely on inflation

But the idea needs government support before it could go into effect.

McClure pointed to a report released in May by the B.C. Non-profit Housing Association that showed almost half of renter households are spending more than the recommended 30 per cent of their income on housing while almost one in five are spending more than 50 per cent on rent.

"We listened to the voices of British Columbians concerned about affordability, reviewed how other provinces set rent and have a solution", said Spencer Chandra Herbert, Rental Housing Task Force Chair and MLA for Vancouver-West End.

"It's not lost on me that people are calling for a rent freeze because they're in such desperation", says Chandra Herbert.

The three-member task force has recommended the maximum rent increase formula be limited to the cost of inflation (2.5 per cent in 2019).

"Today, we're calling for the B.C. government to cut the two per cent that landlords automatically get and instead ask for rents to go up inflation, the cost of living", NDP MLA and rental housing task force chair Spencer Chandra Herbert says. Now the formula allows for rents to go up annually by the CPI plus two per cent.

There was uproar when it was announced earlier this month that B.C. renters could face a 4.5 per cent increase in 2019 due to a Consumer Price Index inflation rate of 2.5 per cent.

Above-guideline increases for repairs or security services are capped at a maximum of 3 per cent above the guideline in any one year.

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The task force has for several months held public consultations and reviewed existing B.C. laws as well as approaches in other jurisdictions. He said Ontario and Manitoba both require landlords to prove they have done work before they can receive the extra rent increase.

It's the model Ontario and Manitoba have used for the last decade.

Government will need to do further work to determine whether there should be a cap to the additional increases landlords could charge for maintenance, Chandra-Herbert said.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is expected to make a decision on the task force's recommendations before October 1.

"Something like the 4.5 per cent increase is so obviously wrong that it shouldn't be hard for them to take action immediately". Matveev says. "The place we were renting was $1,600 for two bedroom, ground floor, not a very nice district, and when we moved out six months later it was $1,800". "We've had it for a while, we've adjusted to it, even though there's issues to it - whatever, at least there's a certain predictability to it that we've built in to our business models". "We are acutely aware of local incomes and the pressures that everybody's facing here ... but the harsh reality is, our expenses are increasing too", Hutniak said.

He was also concerned that it could put the brakes on construction of rental units.

"We tried to stake a bit of a middle path between those views - one that will allow increased affordability for people, as well as an ability to maintain properties", Mr. Chandra Herbert said.

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