May 28, 2018 7:35 pm

B.C. government launches 10-city tour to discuss rental housing

The B.C. government is continuing it's consultation on rental homes in the province.

AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File

British Columbia’s Rental Task Force is heading out on a summer road trip.

The government announced plans on Monday to tour the province next month to “to engage British Columbians” on rental issues, while at the same time delaying possible legislation until the spring of 2019.

“We have gone live online to ask people what they think needs to change to better improve rental housing in British Columbia whether they be landlords, renters, non-profit housing providers,” task force chair Spencer Chandra Herbert said.

“The task force will come up with recommendations to go to the minister of housing and premier this fall for legislation next spring.”

READ MORE: B.C. government launches rental housing task force

The goal of the task force is to make proposals that would modernize provincial tenancy laws. The focus of the 10-stop tour is to gather information on both renters and rental housing providers. The consultation also includes online feedback to complement the in-person stops.

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The meetings kick off in Maple Ridge on June 4, and then move on to Nanaimo, Kelowna, Nelson, Terrace, Prince George, Salt Spring Island, Victoria, Vancouver and Surrey. Additional details are available on the task force’s website.

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The NDP made a number of promises around renters in the last election campaign, including a $400 renters grant that has not yet been put in place.

“One-and-a-half million British Columbians rent. Our laws haven’t kept up with the changing housing market, and that has left both renters and rental housing providers vulnerable,” said Chandra Herbert.

“Modernizing B.C.’s tenancy laws will provide more fairness for everyone, and help to ensure that rental housing providers and renters are able to plan for the future.”

READ MORE: B.C. rules protected ‘nightmare’ renter who trashed home and skipped a year’s rent: landlord

This is the first full review in the province’s tenancy laws since 2002. The province has already announced $6.8 million in new funding to the Residential Tenancy Branch to reduce wait times for tenancy disputes, and to establish a new compliance unit to take action against landlords and tenants who are repeat or serious offenders.

“Together we can build a greater understanding of everyone’s rights and responsibilities, helping to avoid conflicts in the renter-landlord relationship,” said Green MLA and Rental Housing Task Force member Adam Olsen.

“Every landlord needs a renter and every renter needs a landlord. Our primary job is to create a situation where the landlord-tenant relationship can thrive.”

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