Annual rent increases in B.C. will be capped at 2.6 per cent for 2020, up from 2.5 per cent this year, based on the B.C. government’s formula.
The province changed the formula last year, removing an additional two per cent above the annual inflation rate that was in place since 2004.
The rent cap is based on the average 12-month increase in B.C.’s Consumer Price Index, as measured up to July and set in September.
Landlords now must apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for rent increases greater than the cap, based on the cost of significant repairs or renovations that were not anticipated, or financial loss from an “extraordinary increase in operating expenses of the residential property,” according to B.C.’s residential policy guideline.
For people renting in manufactured home parks, the maximum increase is the same, plus a proportional amount for increases in local government charges and utility fees.
Landlords must provide three months notice for rent increases. Assistance in dealing with disputes over rent, landlord access, inspections and other issues is available through the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch.
The provincial government has also decided to strengthen protection for renters and limit evictions related to renovations.
In July, the province increased compensation for bad-faith evictions, strengthened requirements for eviction notifications and issued new Residential Tenancy Branch guidelines.
These include guidelines on the limited types of major repairs that truly require vacancy, the good-faith requirement, necessary permits required by landlords and case law regarding renters’ ability to sustain tenancies during renovations.
Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre executive director said he supports the amendment to the rent increase formula.
“Although more can still be done to improve rental affordability in B.C., reducing rent increases by two per cent is a step in the right direction,” Sakamoto said.
“A rent increase of 2.6%, rather than 4.6%, will lead to real savings for B.C. tenants.”