The B.C. Rental Housing Task Force released their recommendations for how to reduce the housing crisis the province is facing, and topping their list: stopping “renovictions“.
Renters mentioned this as one of their primary concerns, including one renter in Vancouver who said that ‘safe housing’ meant living “without the constant threat of renovictions”. Evicting a tenant to complete essential structural renovations will still be allowed, but does away with the current system, which allows a landlord to evict a tenant in order to complete renovations that are often fully cosmetic.
Landlords can then charge the new tenant any amount they see fit, making this an easy option to increase the rent more than the annual legal limit.
Spencer Chandra Herbert, chair of the rental task force suggested that “if the tenant wants to stay and is willing to accommodate the renovations, they should be allowed to stay in their home.”
This would apply to both small changes such as painting, as well as moderate renovations such as windows, plumbing or electrical work. Structural work, such as seismic upgrades, may still require the tenant to be evicted due to the highly disruptive and lengthy nature of this kind of work.
Prevent Strata Councils from Banning Rentals
Another major recommendation from the task force is putting a stop to rental restrictions on condominiums.
One of the quickest ways to increase the supply of housing is to “make existing housing units that are currently empty available” by allowing condominium owners across the board to rent out their vacant units.
In the current system, many strata buildings see major restrictions upon rentals, with many units sitting empty across the province. Chandra Herbert explained: “We think that housing is needed and we think that landlords should be able to rent out their own homes”.
Initial response to Chandra Herbert’s statement has been mixed, with vocal opposition from the Condominium Owners Association of B.C.
Tony Gioventu offered that “Strata housing that have rental bylaws clearly have the highest occupancy rates. Why would you remove their ability for rental limitations? That’s probably going to diminish or eliminate those occupancy rates.”
What About Pets?
While some residents raised the issue of finding housing that allows for their four-legged members of the family, “the task force was not persuaded that requiring all rental housing providers to allow pets would be fair for landlords or for renters who want or need to live in pet-free buildings,” the report said.
The task force released their preliminary findings in September, which included capping the annual rent increase for 2019 to the rate of inflation (2.5%). Previous years had seen increases of inflation +2%. This move received mixed responses from the public, with some criticizing the decision, predicting it would kill development projects in the rental sector.
Check out the list of all 23 recommendations here, and let us know if you have any ideas on how to improve the rental market, or have an interesting rental story to share, check out our Facebook Page here!