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Posted: December 9, 2017

Drastic rent increase loophole being closed

The Government of British Columbia is beefing up protection for renters by closing a loophole that some landlords used to seek inflated and unfair increases in hot rental markets, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced this morning (Dec. 9).

On behalf of Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson, Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert announced that government is eliminating 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 Chandra Herbert. “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.”

Eliminating the loophole means that landlords will no longer be able to use this clause to seek large rent increases above the allowable rent increase limit when other units in the area rent for higher amounts.

“With near zero vacancy rates in many B.C. communities, too many tenants live in fear of drastic increases to their rent,” said Robinson of the amendments. “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 removal of the geographic rent increase clause will come into effect on Dec. 11. Changes to fixed-term leases – restricting fixed-term tenancies with vacate clauses, and limiting rent increases between fixed-term tenancy agreements with the same tenant to the maximum allowable amount – will also come into effect on Dec. 11.

“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 – four per cent 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. “Eliminating geographic rent increases is another positive step towards making housing more affordable and secure for the roughly 1.5 million tenants living in British Columbia.”

The Residential Tenancy Branch promotes successful tenancies by providing tenants and landlords with information on their rights and responsibilities.

Each year, the branch receives between 20,000 and 22,000 applications for dispute resolution.


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