BC bans landlords from raising rents based on area's higher rents

Dec 10 2017, 5:31 pm

Those who rent their home will no longer be subject to a landlord’s rent hikes that match higher rents found elsewhere in the neighbourhood.

According to a release, the BC NDP provincial government has announced that it will be immediately enacting a new policy to eliminate the geographic rent increase clause in the Residential Tenancy Regulation and in the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Regulation.

“Renters have been threatened with huge rent hikes under the existing rules — that’s a scary situation for any renter,” said Vancouver-West End MLA Chandra Herbert in a statement. “Since 2008, I’ve been working to stop this, so that renters can have the more secure housing they need. I’m pleased our government has delivered for renters today.”

The change in policy means landlords will no longer be able to use the ‘loophole’ to force large rent increases above the allowable rent increase limit.

“With near zero vacancy rates in many B.C. communities, too many tenants live in fear of drastic increases to their rent,” said Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson.

“This change means an end to one more loophole that some landlords have taken advantage of, and builds on the other steps our government has taken to increase protections for renters, such as closing the fixed-term lease loophole and increasing resources for the Residential Tenancy Branch.”

The geographic rent increase clause will no longer be in effect as of Monday. Additionally, restrictions to fixed-term tenancies with vacate clauses as well as limitations on rent increases between fixed-term tenancy agreements with the same tenant to the maximum allowable amount will also come into effect on the same day.

“The Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre has too often seen landlords use the threat of excessive geographic rent increases to bully tenants into lesser but still significant increases that exceed the annual allowable percentage — 4% for 2018. Faced with the prospect of a 50% geographic rent increase, disadvantaged tenants often consent to a 30% increase out of fear,” said Andrew Sakamoto, executive director of the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre.

Supporters say the new policies will contribute to making housing more affordable.