The maximum annual allowable rent increase for 2019 has been set. File photo.

The maximum annual allowable rent increase for 2019 has been set. File photo.

The B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch has set the maximum allowable rent increase for 2019 at 4.5 per cent, the largest since 2004.

In 2018, rent increases were capped at four per cent. According to data from the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch, rent increases have gone past four per cent twice since 2004. In 2004, the rent increase was at 4.6 per cent and in 2012, it was at 4.3 per cent. In 2017, the  maximum allowable rent increase was 3.7 per cent and in 2016, it was at 2.9 per cent.

The B.C. government said the increase allowed each year is the inflation rate plus two per cent. The inflation rate, calculated using the 12-month average percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for British Columbia ending in July, is 2.5%.  The government said therefore, the maximum allowable increase for 2019 is 4.5 per cent.

For manufactured home park tenancies, the rate is 4.5% plus a proportional amount for the change in local government levies and regulated utility fees. All landlords are required to provide tenants with three full months’ notice using the correct notice of rent increase form.

The increase comes at a time of rising rent and low vacancy rates in Victoria and throughout the province. Victoria’s vacancy rate is below one per cent.

The province said it is helping out renters by providing greater protection from unfair evictions, eliminating a geographic rent increase clause that had left some renters facing exorbitant rents increase and increasing rental supply in communities throughout the province through new programs such as the Building BC Community Housing Fund, which is an investment of close to $1.9 billion over 10 years to build 14,000 new rental homes.

 

Alexa Huffman