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Max rent increase policy under review: John Horgan

Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 at 7:36 pm PDT

FILE: John Horgan arrives at Government House (June 29, 2017) (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130, Photo)
Summary

Premier John Horgan says the rental housing task force is looking at the rent increase policy

Horgan says large rent hikes are not part of his government's plan to increase affordability

The premier was in Whistler at annual UBCM convention for municipal politicians

WHISTLER (NEWS 1130) – A week after telling B.C. renters they can expect a hike as high as 4.5 per cent next year, Premier John Horgan is offering hope that the formula will change.

Speaking at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in Whistler on Friday, Horgan said that these kinds of rent increases are “not part of the plan” to make housing more affordable in the province.

He said he’s waiting to see what comes out of the rental housing task force because the maximum rent increases is part of that review.

“It will be part of that report and we’re going to be taking action when we get, but, I feel for renters that are looking at a 4.5 per cent rent increase,” he said. “That’s just beyond many peoples’ ability to pay. If we’re going to address the housing problem – and that’s a priority for our government, not just on the rent side, but on purchase, on not-for-profit housing, on hard-to-home individuals, on market-driven housing – we need to make sure that we’re doing everything we can.”

The premier added he can’t promise any relief before he hears back from this task force, which is headed up by MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert. Horgan believes it would be “irresponsible” to do so, before the group has had a chance to make its recommendations.

The formula in place to calculate the maximum allowable rent increase has been in place since 2004, and is the inflation rate plus two per cent.

“Wages have not gone up 4.5 per cent. This has been an extraordinary year for inflation, but we will not see any change in the current status until we’ve had an opportunity to absorb the report.”

Horgan also suggested the $400 rebate promised before last year’s election is still possible. He adds the B.C. NDP is working with the Green party.

“That was one of the issues that we didn’t have unanimity on and I’m hopeful the example that we’re seeing right now of a prospective 4.5 per cent rate increase will encourage our green partners to revisit the idea of a renters’ rebate.”

Last week, the province approved that hike in rental rates up from four per cent last year. It’s the largest possible increase since 2004, when it was 4.6 per cent.

Landlords are allowed to increase rent once a year and must give tenants three full months’ notice.