Rents may be rising next year by more than the usual amount.
The provincial government has announced that the maximum annual allowable rent increase in 2019 will be 4.5 per cent. Based on the B.C. consumer price index and the formula for rent increases in British Columbia, landlords can choose to increase rent once annually.
The maximum percentage 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 B.C. ending in July, is 2.5 per cent. Therefore, the maximum allowable increase for 2019 is 4.5 per cent.
For manufactured home park tenancies, the rate is 4.5 per cent plus a proportional amount for the change in local government levies and regulated utility fees.
Landlords must provide tenants with three full months' notice using the correct notice of rent increase form.
Last week, the province announced Low-income families and seniors in British Columbia who are paying rent in the private market will receive additional help, with Victoria expanding the eligibility requirements and increasing the benefits under the rental-assistance program and shelter aid for elderly renters.
Effective Sept. 1, as a result of increased rent ceilings around the province, more low-income families and seniors will be eligible for additional assistance to help with their monthly payments in the private market.
The average monthly payment for elderly recipients will increase by approximately $78, or 42 per cent, to $265 from $187.
Low-income families will also benefit from higher rental-assistance benefits.
Under B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program, the maximum gross household income to qualify for benefits is being raised to $40,000 from $35,000.
The average monthly subsidy for recipients is increasing by approximately $67, or 17 per cent, to $472 from $405.
The province is providing $116 million over three years to expand eligibility and increase the average benefits under the rental assistance program and shelter aid for elderly renters.
The rental assistance programs reimburse part of the difference between 30 per cent of income and the household rent (up to maximum rent ceilings).
The rental-assistance program provides eligible working families earning up to $40,000 a year with direct assistance to help them meet monthly rent payments in the private market. Approximately 9,250 families receive assistance.
Shelter aid for elderly renters provides direct cash assistance to eligible residents, who are ages 60 years or older, to help them in meeting their monthly rent payment in the private market.
The provincial government also created the rental housing task force, which toured the province earlier this year seeking feedback on the concerns and issues impacting renters and landlords. The task force will share its recommendations for further improvements for renters and landlords by the end of this year.