Thursday February 8, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated 1 pm]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Today Premier Eby reiterated that the Province of BC has capped rental increases to 3.5%. That’s for people who remain in their current rental location.
For people who are forced out of homes that they rent by circumstances beyond their control — mostly mortgage cost increases and property tax increases that the property owner feels compelled to pass onto the tenant — there is no such protection. Rents for people in such situations may go up by 25% to 40% essentially overnight.
Earlier this week the BC Greens addressed their concerns about this gap into which many renters will fall into household and financial disarray that will in many cases lead to challenges to personal and household well-being.
This is clearly another way that property ownership trumps the choice or necessary for people to rent. It is squeezing people out of homes and community and thereby away from families and employment.
BC Rent Bank needs grant component:
The BC Rent Bank on January 31 promoted their services along with the government announcing $11 million more in funding support.
However, the BC Rent Bank relies heavily on proof of ability to repay. If a person has suddenly incurred a rent increase of 25% or more, the ability to repay is likely not immediate. So these folks are still left out in the cold.
At this time, the government might have to look at adding a grant component to the BC Rent Bank process (i.e. only a portion would be repayable).
BC Greens on ‘the shadows of homelessness’:
The BC Greens earlier this week addressed the issue of renters being challenged in the current market situation. Today BC Green Leader Sonia Furstenau has said in a statement issued to Island Social Trends:
“Affordable housing is not a privilege, it’s a right. The distressing predicament of renters at risk of being forced into the shadows of homelessness due to soaring rents and opportunistic landlord practices, speaks to a deeper failure in our society,” said Furstenau.
“Our policies must reflect not just the interests of the few, but the needs of the many. Homes should be havens, not assets to be flipped for profit at the expense of the well-being of people in our communities,” she said.
More to come:
We’ve asked for comment from the Premier’s office and the BC Housing Ministry.
- BC Greens call for urgent renter support (February 6, 2024)
- Province gives $11 million boost to BC Rent Bank (February 2, 2024)
- BC renters: 2023 tax credit, Residential Tenancy Branch enhancements (December 4, 2023)
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mary P Brooke is the Editor of Island Social Trends — an online daily news portal since 2020 at IslandSocialTrends.ca and now biweekly in print.
Ms Brooke has been reporting with the BC Legislative Press Gallery since 2023, after covering daily COVID news in 2020-2022.
Mary P Brooke was nominated for a Jack Webster Foundation award in 2023 for contributing to her community through journalism.
Ms Brooke has launched and edited a series of publications on south Vancouver Island since 2008: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), West Shore Voice News (2014-2020) and now Island Social Trends (since 2020).