EDITORIAL: Where is the B.C. NDP’s promised rent rebate?

The contrast is stark — and painful for those already struggling to pay their monthly rent.

The provincial government has announced next year’s maximum allowable rent increase will be 4.5 per cent, the highest allowable hike in 15 years.

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No sooner had the news broke than many were asking Premier John Horgan about a pre-election promise that has yet to materialize — that $400 per year rent rebate he and the B.C. NDP dangled in front of voters in the May 2017 election campaign.

That rebate promise seems to have disappeared, though the cost of living is painfully evident in higher rent, higher property taxes, higher BC Hydro rates and higher ICBC premiums.

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.

That hike will create massive hardships to many people, whether they live in Vancouver or Kamloops.

Even in the comparably affordable Tournament Capital, rental rates are high; basement suites rarely go for less than $1,200 per month.

But this problem shouldn’t create an opening to punish landlords.

Their costs continue to rise, too, with property taxes, insurance and utility bills all increasing.

The B.C. NDP should start by fulfilling its campaign promise — or explain to us why it cannot be carried out.

There are encouraging signs on the horizon as Kamloops has seen more rental units under construction in the past few years than in the past decade.

From Sahali to North Shore, there will be more units for rent, which in theory should positively impact the bottom line on rental rates — but like that B.C. NDP promise, such a benefit needs to be seen to be believed.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week


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