Renters, prepare to pay more for your housing in 2019.
The B.C. government has raised the annual allowable tax increase, meaning landlords will have the option to increase rent by 4.5 per cent once annually as of next year. Currently, the rate is four per cent.
And, based on the B.C. Consumer Price Index and the formula for rent increases, the amount could potentially be raised again for 2020. The calculation is based on the maximum percentage that is allowed each year: the inflation rate plus two per cent.
For those living in manufactured home parks, the rate will be 4.5 per cent plus the proportional amount for the change in local government levies and the regulated utility fees.
While you may already be panicking about an increase, landlords must provide a tenant with three full months' notice using the proper notice of rent increase form (available on the B.C. Tenancy Branch website).
Another important point to note is the rent increase can't be more than the amount that is calculated by the landlord when using the allowable increase percentage, which means a landlord can't round up when calculating the increase.
The B.C. Tenancy Branch provides this example:
"If the base rent is $1,100 and the maximum allowable increase is $49.50 the landlord can issue a Notice of Rent Increase for a new rent of up to $1,149.50, but not $1,150."
With the issue of extremely low vacancy rates throughout the province currently, the government has taken the following steps to help provide some relief to tenants:
- Providing greater protection from unfair evictions
- Eliminating a geographic rent increase clause that had left some renters facing exorbitant rent increases
- Enhancing rental assistance for seniors and low-income families through Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters and the Rental Assistance Program
- Increasing rental supply in communities throughout the province through new programs such as the Building BC Community Housing Fund, which is an investment of close to $1.9 billion over 10 years to build 14,000 new rental homes