VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC NDP government is hoping to extend the rent freeze to the end of this December.
The effort is based on legislation tabled Monday by Attorney General David Eby, with the current ban on rent hikes set to expire in July.
David Hutniak, the CEO of LandlordBC, says he knew this was coming because it was promised during the lead-up to October’s provincial election.
“Certainly, we would prefer that this not be happening, but they recognize we have challenges and that we’re going to work with them to try and sort of mitigate some of those challenges, as we move forward,” he said.
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Rocco Trigueros with the Vancouver Tenants Union says many people who have lost their jobs are still facing eviction at some point.
“It’s a good first step, but what about the people who cannot pay rent because they don’t have money now? Are we taking care of them?” he asked, adding his group would like to see a ban on evictions “until the pandemic is over.”
“We know that many people are struggling in this moment with money issues,” he added.
Hutniak says renters aren’t the only ones struggling.
“We try to provide safe, secure rental housing and our expectation is that renters will meet their responsibilities which includes paying rent on a monthly basis,” he said.
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When the ban on rent hikes first went into effect in March 2020, it was supposed to expire last December. It was later extended to July, 2021.
The province also wants to cap future rent increases to inflation, address illegal renovictions, and improve the dispute resolution process.
Hutniak says landlords understand they need to think long-term and support changes aimed at making dispute resolution less confrontational.
“The changes mean no more tenants will face eviction notices for phoney renovations that were never going to happen,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver West-End, on behalf of Eby in a statement.
“By putting an end to this kind of bullying behaviour, meant to drive out long-term tenants and jack up the rent, we’re protecting renters and supporting rental housing providers who do proactive maintenance of their rental homes,” he added.
Landlords would be required to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch before they can terminate a tenancy agreement for the purpose of renovating. The province says landlords would also not be able to end tenancies for renovations “that are not substantial or do not require the rental unit to be vacant.”