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caption: Low rental vacancy rates put pressure on rents. credit: Shana Johnstone
Among many other recent changes to the Residential Tenancy Act and Residential Tenancy Branch processes, new rental rate limitations are looking out for BC's renters.
Prior to the changes, the Residential Tenancy Regulation let landlords apply to increase rents above the maximum allowed where a unit's rent was significantly lower than similar units in the same geographic area.
"Often the threat of an application to raise the rent 50% or more was enough to pressure tenants into agreeing to smaller increases that were still well above the maximum. Tenants reasonably worried their landlords might succeed in such applications given that rents around them were rising rapidly," explains Zuzana Modrovic of the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC). "This led to a somewhat absurd result-landlords could use the threat of a geographic rent increase application to pressure tenants to agree to increases above the legislated limit, and then use those higher rental rates as part of their evidence to support their applications for geographic rent increases for tenants who did not agree."
Geographic rent increases were eliminated altogether in December 2017.
Another change affecting rental rates is the result of the new Rental Housing Task Force, appointed in 2018 to recommend changes to rental housing legislation. Its first recommendation to government was to change the formula for allowable rent increases from inflation plus 2% to inflation only.
|Download Spring 2019|
Read more about rental rates, vacate clauses, landlord-use evictions, tenant compensation, and more in Modrovic's "Recent Changes to Residential Tenancy Law" in the Spring 2019 edition of Input. Download Spring 2019
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