VIDEO: B.C. to end geographic area rent increases, close fixed-term lease loopholes

Both clauses allowed landlords to raise rents above the max annual allowable rent increase

Landlords will no longer be able to use higher neighbourhood rents to justify a rent increase, Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert announced in Vancouver Saturday.

“The geographic area increase clause allowed landlords to bully renters into paying massive rent increases,” said Chandra Herbert.

The Residential Tenancy Act clause had allowed landlords to apply to raise rents beyond the maximum annual allowable increase if they could prove that similar units in the neighbourhood had higher rents.

The cap on rent increases is four per cent for 2018.

Chandra Herbert said that landlords would at times apply for rent increase of 70 per cent or more, as well as using the threat of rent increases to convince renters to agree to lower, although still significant increases.

Andrew Sakamoto, executive director of the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre, said that the geographic area clause had let landlords push rents even higher amidst what has been called a rental crisis in B.C.

Metro Vancouver rental vacancies sit at less than one per cent across all of its communities.

“We can’t allow landlords to use geographic rent increases to bring more units in line with the already inflated market that vacated clauses helped create,” Sakamoto said.

READ: B.C. to give renters a break on deposits, rent increases

The change will go into effect Monday, along with the end of a fixed term lease loophole.

The loophole allowed landlord to have their tenants sign a fixed-term lease with a vacate clause that allowed landlords to either bring in rent increases or evict tenants.

“While the good news that vacate clauses are for the most part eliminated, the bad news is that this loophole has left communities across B.C. with artificially inflated rents,” said Sakamato.

Any renters currently under a fixed-term lease will be able to go to a standard month-to-month lease.


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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