Believe it or not, B.C. renters are finally getting some good news. The annual B.C. rent increase for 2020 has been set at 2.6% which is the province’s annual rate of inflation. The reason why this is good news is that it’s a full 2% lower than it would have been before changes were made in 2019.
More specifically, Municipal Affairs and Housing for British Columbia removed the additional 2% increase above inflation that has been in place since 2004, according to a news release.*
Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, called the old method a “fixed-term loophole” in the release. She explained that renters would have seen more than a 9% increase from 2019 to 2020. Renters “will no longer face the unreasonable rent hikes that were allowed for years,” Robinson continued.
The average rent in B.C. is currently $1250 per month per person. Renters paying around that amount will be saving up to $300 a year under the new protections. As many B.C. residents are paying more than the average amount, savings will be even more significant. As the current average price for 2-bedroom rent in Vancouver is over $3000, a smaller yearly increase won’t go unnoticed.
On top of the savings, British Columbia will also be looking into more protection for renters, limiting things such as evictions for the purpose of renovations. If a renter is evicted in bad-faith, the Provence is now offering higher compensation for the impacted individuals.
In addition, there are now new Residential Tenancy Branch guidelines as of July 2019 that will give both landlords and renters more guidance on good-faith requirements, permitting, renovations, and fair grounds for eviction.
The Province is working hard to protect renters and offer B.C. residents safe and affordable places to live. According to the release, they are working to make living situations fair and transparent for tenants while also providing upstanding landlords workable solutions to earn off of their rental properties.
It's been a minute since B.C. renters have received positive news and we must say, a smaller yearly rent increase isn't a bad deal.
If landlords choose to ignore the maximum set rent increase, then "there will be serious consequences for deliberately not following their obligations with the tenancy laws in the province,” said Scott McGregor, director, Compliance and Enforcement Unit in the news release. It's important to know your rights, no matter if you're a renter or a landlord, to make sure you're being treated fairly and lawfully.
*This article has been updated.