The B.C. government has introduced legislation that, if passed, will extend the rent freeze to the end of 2021.
The changes will also cap future rent increases to the rate of inflation, stop illegal renovictions and change the rent resolution process.
“The changes mean no more tenants will face eviction notices for phoney renovations that were never going to happen,” Vancouver West-End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert said.
“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.”
The legislation will require landlords to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) before they can terminate a tenancy agreement for the purpose of renovating.
In addition, landlords will not be able to end tenancies for renovations that are not substantial or do not require the rental unit to be vacant. These changes, if passed, will come into effect on July 1.
The new legislative changes, if passed, will mean all renters who have received notice of a rent increase that would have taken effect after March 30, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2022, can disregard those notices.
Starting in 2022 and beyond, rent increases will be capped at the rate of inflation, fulfilling a commitment by government.
“We know many people who rent in our communities have been challenged by high rents,” Chandra Herbert said.
“That’s why our government cut rent increases almost in half by capping them to inflation, and then when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we stopped rent increases altogether and now we’re extending that to the end of 2021. We know there’s more to do, but with these new changes, we’re continuing to make progress.”
Prior to 2017, the maximum allowable rent increase was as high as 4.3 per cent, well above the rate of inflation.