B.C. rental task force member MLAs Adam Olsen (left), Ronna-Rae Leonard and Spencer Chandra-Herbert. (Black Press files)

Stop ‘renovictions,’ B.C. housing task force says

MLAs call for end to strata bans on renting vacant suites

Rules for evictions to renovate a rental property need to be strengthened, a task force of B.C. MLAs has recommended.

“One of most frequently mentioned challenges from renters was unfair evictions, including renovictions and other evictions, based on false claims,” the three MLAs wrote in their report to the B.C. government, released Wednesday. “They told the task force about how stressful it was to live with the constant threat of being forced from their home with too little time to find alternative housing in a challenging rental market.”

The task force is also calling for eliminating the ability of strata corporations to ban rentals from their buildings.

“While the task force believes this change will help increase the rental housing supply, it is also important to give strata corporations the ability to evict tenants in exceptional cases where negligence, abuse or law breaking is disrupting the quiet enjoyment of other residents, putting people in danger or harming the building,” the report states.

B.C. Housing Minister Selina Robinson declined to comment on the recommendations, saying they must be reviewed by cabinet first.

The task force was appointed in April by Premier John Horgan, chaired by Vancouver-West End NDP MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert. The other members are NDP MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard (Courtenay-Comox) and B.C. Green MLA Adam Olsen (Saanich North and the Islands).

In its first recommendations in September, the task force called for the annual rent increase formula to be reduced to an inflation adjustment only, eliminating the additional two per cent increase allowed for landlords. That would limit the 2019 increase to 2.5 per cent, based on federal calculations of inflation.

It called for additional rent increases to be applied for at the Residential Tenancy Branch in cases where renovations and repairs have been completed.

The latest report calls for changes to the Residential Tenancy Act to allow for “maintaining tenancy during renovations, as long as the tenant is willing to accommodate construction.

“Evictions for renovations should be reserved for the rare instance of serious, major and long-term renovations, such as seismic upgrades, which extend the life of a building considerably where it is impossible to keep tenants in the building due to health and safety risks, or unreasonable to expect a tenancy to continue, due to the extensive length of time a building would be uninhabitable.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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