Province frustrated with landlords exploiting rental market loopholes

Province frustrated with landlords exploiting rental market loopholes

WATCH: Yesterday, we told you about some Victoria renters worried about their homes. They say their landlord has found a loophole in the maximum allowable rent increase, by increasing parking and storage fees instead. As Kori Sidaway reports, the province says they’re concerned and frustrated as well.

Following the recent rollback of 2019’s allowable rent increase from 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent, some tenants say their landlord has found a loophole.

“If they couldn’t get their 4.5 per cent they had to get more money from somewhere,” said James Bay resident Jeannie Good.

Tenants say that instead, their landlord is hiking parking and storage fees, which many in office say is disappointing.

“It is frustrating hearing that people are finding loopholes and exploiting them,” said North Saanich MLA Adam Olsen.

“The point of this is, we need to change the relationship between landlords and tenants.”

But renters say it may be time for more immediate action.

“Sure it should be a commodity, but it should have controls,” said John O’Connor.

Finance Minister Carole James, the area’s MLA, says she understands the tenant’s concerns, but her government is waiting for a report from the Rental Housing Task Force.

“I’ll be following up,” said James.

“I know I’ve had constituents in my constituency office expressing concern, but we’ll be waiting from the report coming as well.”

And a member of that special task force, says everything is on the table.

“We are putting forward a very comprehensive plan, exactly what we’ll be addressing will come out in the coming weeks and months. And frankly, we’re still having those conversations. We just had a conversation as late as this morning,” said Housing Task Force member Olsen.

But for many tenants facing the parking fee hike, most of who are on a fixed income will wait.

“To the owner, I would say please consider what we live on, and how difficult it is,” said Good.

The Ministry of Housing said in a release the Residential Tenancy Branch is looking into the case.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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