The B.C. government will establish a $500 million Rental Protection Fund to give grants for non-profits to buy older rental buildings.
B.C. Premier David Eby made the announcement, saying the goal is to prevent older buildings from being redeveloped or purchased by international speculators who may increase the rents.
“We’re taking action to protect renters who found an affordable place to live, but are worried their building will be bought out from underneath them,” said Eby.
“This fund will allow non-profits to secure older rental buildings and protect vulnerable renters from speculators who can drive up rents and evict tenants who have lived there for years. Instead, community non-profits will now be able to work with tenants to make improvements or expand to house more people, and at the same time protect affordable housing.”
Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon says the creation will be expediated so acquisition can take place this year.
Data released by BC Housing shows 14,546 purpose-built rental homes were registered in B.C. in 2022.
According to the B.C. government, this is the highest yearly total since BC Housing started collecting the data in 2002.
“Our government is responding to the housing crisis by establishing the conditions needed to create a record number of purpose-built rentals started in 2022,” Kahlon said in a news release. “In addition to these successful efforts to add much-needed rental homes, 2022 was another banner year for housing registrations overall.”
There were 51,407 new homes registered in the province in 2022, including 9,037 single detached homes, and 42,370 multi-unit homes.
“Our province is building more rental housing than ever, but we must also protect what we have. It’s not acceptable for speculators to be pushing renters out of their homes,” said Kahlon. “By protecting more affordable housing, more people can stay in their homes and build a good life in B.C.”
Margaret Pfoh, CEO of the Aboriginal Housing Management Association, says she is looking forward to continuing working on rental housing with the assistance of this fund.
“This funding will not only help create and preserve some long-term affordability in B.C., it is also an investment that will allow the AHMA to implement some of the pieces of our comprehensive provincial strategy built on 25 years of expertise,” Pfoh said.
“Having an Indigenous-led organization at the table as an equal partner with BCNPHA and CHFBC is another key step toward true reconciliation. This announcement speaks volumes to our relationship with the Province and enables us to put collective knowledge into action for the benefit of those who most need housing.”