BC housing minister Selina Robinson is considering the possibility of altering the province-wide formula that sets the maximum amount landlords can increase rent by annually, the minister told media this week.
The current formula, part of the Residential Tenancy Act, allows landlords to increase rent by 2% plus inflation. With current inflation rates, the maximum rent increase would be 4% in 2018. If next year's rent hike goes into effect, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Metro Vancouver, which is currently $1950, would increase by $78 per month, or $936 annually. Robinson explained that the formula will be evaulated by her ministry as they work out ways to make renting less stressful across the province.
"[We are] having conversations right now," said Robinson in an interview. "We just saw [the 2018 increase] come out and I know that people are very, very concerned."
The province is looking into lowering the annual rent increase to only the rate of inflation, which would make the maximum rent increase 2% this year, or $468 annually on an apartment rented at $1950 monthly.
During the provincial election in May, the NDP promised to help deal with the rental crunch by building 114,000 co-op and rental homes and by giving renters an annual home credit of $400. The party also promised to end the "fixed term lease" loophole, in which tenants are forced into one-year leases with higher than normal annual rent increases based on a minor technicality.
Robinson said that rent control is one of several aspects of the province's affordability problems.
"I'm looking for things we can deliver ASAP, because I know this is a crisis," she told The Vancouver Sun.