Vancouver Island renters brace for largest possible increase in 15 years

Vancouver Island renters brace for largest possible increase in 15 years
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WATCH: If you rent property in B.C. you could be in for a larger increase next year. In fact, percentage-wise it’s the largest in 15 years. It comes amidst rising rents and low vacancy rates in populated areas. Kori Sidaway has more on how locals are reacting.

 

Lianne Ginter is living on the edge — of life, and poverty.

“The insulin’s what keeps me going, this is what keeps me functional,” said Ginter.

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Lianne lost the ability to work full time and her life was forever changed.

“The big adjustment was coming up with rent, simply because disability doesn’t give you enough to pay market value,” said Ginter.

Lianne is one of the many British Columbians living on the edge. A new study shows that half of British Columbians are living paycheck to paycheck. Add in a 4.5 per cent increase to rent on an already strained budget?

For many it’s impossible.

“Four point five per cent would literally put me on the street,” said Ginter.

The B.C. government allows a rental rate increase of inflation which is sitting currently at 2.5 per cent, plus an additional 2 per cent, meaning the rate for 2019 will be 4.5 per cent.

Advocates say the extra two per cent on top of inflation is arbitrary and unfair for renters.

“The inflation accounts for the rise in costs in doing business for the landlord, so that extra percentage increase is pure profit made on the backs of tenants,” said Emily Rogers, who is a legal advocate for Together Against Poverty Society.

When compared to other provinces across Canada, British Columbia has one of the highest rent rate increases in the country.

In Ontario, the rate is a mere 1.8 per cent and 1.2 per cent in Nova Scotia.

All this comes as the province announced a forecasted surplus yesterday, with nearly 200 million more than initially projected.

When asked about this increase, the government point’s to policy changes they’ve already made for renters and that they’re waiting for the next step.

“We need to wait for the rental task force that went out to identify what are the next pieces we need to do. and we’re expecting their set of recommendations in November,” said housing minister Selina Robinson.

For now, many people’s future hangs in the hands of their landlords. Lucky for Lianne, she has a kind one.

“Being a landlord is a really big responsibility,” said Ginter’s landlord Karen Shirley.

“You’re providing people with a basic need and that’s shelter. But, it’s actually a really easy gig. Tenants provide us money to pay our mortgages and property taxes. In return, we should take care of them.”

It’s an approach that has allowed Lianne to live off the streets, and quite frankly, kept her alive.

The many other Victorians grappling with near zero vacancy rates and sky-high rents think this will make the already dire housing crisis, that much worse.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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