British Columbia’s annual allowable rent increase for 2020 has been set at 2.6 per cent, the province’s annual rate of inflation.
BC says it is two per cent lower than it would have been prior to the reduction government made in 2019.
“Renters need secure housing they can afford,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “That’s why we removed the additional 2% above inflation that the old government allowed for rent increases since 2004. Under the old formula, renters would have seen a rent hike of more than 9% over 2019 and 2020. Because of our changes and the removal of the fixed-term loophole, people will no longer face the unreasonable rent hikes that were allowed for years.”
The province said that by removing the extra 2 per cent, renters living in a $1,250 per month apartment (the average rent in B.C.) can save up to $300 next year. People in an average two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver can save up to $471 annually.
The Province said it is also taking steps to strengthen protections for renters and limit evictions related to renovations. The Province has increased compensation for bad-faith evictions, strengthened requirements for eviction notifications and issued new Residential Tenancy Branch guidelines in July 2019 that will provide landlords and renters with stronger guidance on:
- the limited types of major repairs that truly require vacancy;
- the good-faith requirement;
- necessary permits required by landlords; and
- case law regarding renters’ ability to sustain tenancies during renovations
When the rent increase cap was lowered in 2019, the Rental Housing Task Force also recommended that the provincial government work with landlords on revising the process for applying for limited additional rent increases to ensure they can pay for necessary maintenance and repairs to their buildings, and preserve good-quality housing for people throughout the province.
The previous process for seeking additional rent increases only gave landlords the opportunity to recover investments for unforeseen repairs or maintenance. The Province says it has worked with landlord groups on a new way to help ensure important capital investments are made. Landlords will be able to apply to recover costs incurred in the previous 18 months for major capital improvements. The new system is expected to be ready for summer 2020.
“The work we’ve been doing with the Province on a new process is unfolding in a manner that, in our view, will result in a process that will be fair and transparent for tenants, while providing landlords who continue to invest in the enhancement and energy efficiency of their rental properties a workable solution to recoup a portion of those costs,” said David Hutniak, chief executive officer, LandlordBC.
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