Amendments will prevent unreasonable rent increases

The amendments would improve the rights of renters throughout the province.

Additional legislation to prevent landlords from implementing unreasonable rent increases has been introduced by the provincial government.

The amendment to the Residential Tenancy Act and Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act means that a major loophole in fixed-term leases has been closed, namely the removal of the geographic rent increase clause.

The clause allowed landlords to increase rent above the allowable rent increase limit when other units in the same geographic area rent for higher amounts.

In addition, changes to fixed-term leases — restricting fixed-term tenancies with vacate clauses, and limiting rent increases between fixed-term tenancy agreements with the same tenant to the maximum allowable amount — also came into effect on December 11.

Housing advocate Paul Lagace, who now works out of Prince Rupert, said the amendments would improve the rights of renters throughout the province.

“Simply said the ‘fixed-term consecutive lease loophole’ was a way that B.C. landlords were circumventing the maximum annual rent increases permitted in month-to-month tenancies, which are usually between 2 and 4 per cent depending on the annual inflation rate,” said Lagace.

“A number of landlords across the province were using fixed-term leases on their long-term tenants in order to jack up their rents.”

He said for over three years the Kitimat Housing Resource Project had petitioned the government to close the loophole, bringing attention to the situation through the media and consulting with the province’s Residential Tenancy Branch on potential policy that could be implemented.

“What was most concerning to me, from a Kitimat perspective, was that 80 per cent of our Kitimat rental-market folks are on these fixed-term leases. With the announcement of any major project locally, rents could have doubled again as we saw during the Kitimat Modernization Project,” said Lagace.

He said within a year following the announcement of a new major project in Kitimat the town would lose many of the long-term tenants who weren’t pushed out by what he called the “mass-renovictions” during the modernization project.

“Fortunately now, with the Housing Minister’s recent announcement, there is some protection in place for our folks, a number who are seniors, low-income earners and persons with disabilities.”

Provincial Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre executive director Andrew Sakamoto said the provincial government’s top priority was to eliminate fixed-term tenancies with vacate clauses.

“This type of agreement was increasingly being used by landlords wanting to circumvent rent controls and evict tenants for reasons outside of the Residential Tenancy Act, practices that don’t align with the spirit and intent of the legislation,” said Sakamoto.

The new rules will apply to both new and existing tenancy agreements and will also streamline the dispute resolution process for the return of security deposits.

If a landlord doesn’t return a security deposit, a tenant will be able to apply for a monetary order through an expedited process.

This will ensure that tenants get their deposits back more quickly – three weeks, instead of waiting up to six months.

Click to email the newsroom

Just Posted

Water advisory back on for Kitimat

Heavy rains raised turbidity levels in the Kitimat River

Family of Terrace man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

William Griffin arrested in Houston homicide

RCMP have now arrested William Griffin, the man wanted in connection to… Continue reading

Major changes ahead for Kitimat’s airshed

SO2 emissions addressed in a provincial government order

Hwy 16 traffic delay due to washout between Terrace and Prince Rupert

Alternating single-lane traffic is in effect, 66 km west of Terrace

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Sentencing scheduled Tuesday for man who killed Belgian tourist

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Sakkalis near Boston Bar

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Duncan man gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty trial

Joe also gets lifetime ban on owning animals

B.C. pushes for greater industry ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

Most Read