Victoria -SEPTEMBER 26 UPDATE – The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is listening to the concerns of renters and taking action on an early recommendation from B.C.’s Rental Housing Task Force by cutting the annual allowable rent increase by 2%, limiting it to inflation.
That means that effective Jan. 1, 2019, the annual allowable rent increase will be 2.5%.
“It’s simply not sustainable for renters, many of whom are on fixed incomes, to see their rent increase by more than inflation each and every year,” said Premier John Horgan. “We have to eliminate the risk of such huge increases for renters. Our new approach strikes a balance between giving relief to renters while encouraging people to maintain their rental properties.”
The previous formula, set in 2004, allowed annual rent increases of 2% plus inflation.
As a result of eliminating the additional 2% increase, people living in a $1,200 per month apartment (average rent in B.C.) could save up to $288 in 2019 over what they could have paid under the old formula. People in an average two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver could have faced paying up to $432 more over the course of the year.
“We recognize supply is key to bringing down rental costs in the long term, but renters have told us they are hurting and need help today,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “That’s why we are taking careful steps to address the housing crisis and ease the pressure on renters, while also making sure that landlords have the tools they need to continue to invest in their rental properties.”
The Residential Tenancy Branch will work closely with landlord advocacy groups on expanded circumstances under which landlords could apply for an additional rent increase to reflect the costs of maintaining their rental properties.
SEPTEMBER 7 ORIGINAL STORY – Based on the B.C. Consumer Price Index and the formula for rent increases in British Columbia, the maximum annual allowable rent increase will be 4.5% in 2019. This is the biggest jump since 2004. Usually increases are less than 2%.
B.C. landlords can choose to increase rent once annually. The maximum percentage increase allowed each year is the inflation rate plus 2%. The inflation rate, calculated using the 12-month average percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for British Columbia ending in July, is 2.5%. Therefore, the maximum allowable increase for 2019 is 4.5%.
For manufactured home park tenancies, the rate is 4.5% plus a proportional amount for the change in local government levies and regulated utility fees.
Landlords must provide tenants with three full months’ notice using the correct notice of rent increase form.
In the context of extremely low vacancy rates in communities throughout British Columbia and rising rents, the Province has taken the following steps to help provide relief to renters:
- providing greater protection from unfair evictions;
- eliminating a geographic rent increase clause that had left some renters facing exorbitant rent increases;
- enhancing rental assistance for seniors and low-income families through Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters and the Rental Assistance Program; and
- increasing rental supply in communities throughout the province through new programs such as the Building BC Community Housing Fund, which is an investment of close to $1.9 billion over 10 years to build 14,000 new rental homes.
The B.C. government also created the Rental Housing Task Force, which toured the province earlier this year seeking feedback on the concerns and issues impacting renters and landlords. The task force will share its recommendations for further improvements for renters and landlords by the end of this year.