As renters in the province face the highest maximum rent hike since 2004, B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver wants the NDP government to take a “hard look” at the allowable rental increase formula.
The current formula is inflation plus 2%, meaning a maximum of 4.5% in 2019.
It would mean someone living in a one-bedroom apartment paying $1200 a month could, over the course of the year, pay almost $650 extra in rent.
The latest hike comes on the heels of a 4% maximum rent hike in 2018
Weaver points out the B.C. NDP have allowed an 8.7% compound increase in just two years.
The MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head says the government should look instead to cap the maximum allowable increase at a lower rate. Weaver points to Ontario and Quebec allowing only 1.8% increases in 2019.
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson says the NDP government put together the Rental Housing Task Force to go out and identify priority areas.
She says that the issue of the annual rent increase and rent control is part of that review.
Weaver is also defending his opposition to an NDP campaign promise to give every renter in the province $400, the so-called renters’ rebate.
He says the move would cost the province $200-million and says “In essence, it is a landlord subsidy.”
Instead, he argues that lowering the maximum allowable increase would provide more relief for renters, and the province could invest that money in building more affordable housing.
Robinson says the NDP government remains committed to bringing in the renters’ rebate and continue to work on the details.
With files from CBC