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Rental task force neglects vacancy controls: tenants group

Last Updated Dec 12, 2018 at 7:52 pm PDT

(Source: iStock)
Summary

B.C.'s Rental Housing task force has released 23 recommendations

Not allowing Strata Corporations to ban renting out units and stopping renovictions are two recommendations

A tenant advocacy group says they would have liked to see vacancy controls as part of the recommendations

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Stopping renovictions and putting an end to strata corporations’ power to ban rentals are two proposals coming out of the province’s task force on rental housing.

In a report released today, the task force offered 23 recommendations meant to address housing supply, security and affordability, and protections for renters. The report says many people renting in B.C. have difficulty finding safe and secure homes they can afford, and protections for renters are too weak.

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And while it also finds that existing rental tenancy laws are inadequate and not properly enforced, a tenants group says recommendations don’t go far enough.

The Vancouver Tenants Union says they are extremely disappointed, and would have liked to see vacancy controls included on list — that would mean tying the cost of rent to a unit rather than a person.

Sydney Ball says it would offer more protections than many of the other recommendations.

“It provides real security for people,” she says. “We’re making sure it’s not this constant threat of eviction hanging over everybody in Vancouver because, you know, I live in a place where the landlord wouldn’t have to touch it to make another $600, $700 on it a month.”

 

Rental Housing Task Force recommendations

She says this would protect affordable suites that already exist in Vancouver from being flipped for higher rents.

“It’s very sad to see the Rental Housing Task Force cower to the landlord lobby,” Ball says.

The problem, she says, is the task force seems to believe controlling rent this way would limit construction of new purpose-built rentals.

In the report, the task force finds that rental tenancy laws are not adequately protecting renters, there is inconsistent enforcement of existing rules, and says there are loopholes that leave people vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

The task force spoke to renters, landlords, non-profit housing providers and advocates, stopped in 11 communites on a tour across the province, and invited written and online comments and submissions.

The final list of recommendations comes after the provincial government released some preliminary results in September.

The government used those recommendations to determine changes to the amount rent can go up every year – 2.5 per cent to match inflation – with some exceptions.

Rental Housing Task Force  – Recommendations and Findings

RHTF-Recommendations-and-WWH-Report_Dec2018_FINAL

– With files from Martin MacMahon