The annual rent increase guideline for 2020 in British Columbia is set at 2.6%.
That figure represents the maximum most landlords can increase rent throughout the year. To increase rent, a landlord must provide notice to the tenant three months before the increase is to take effect, on a notice form provided by the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch.
For manufactured home park tenancies, the rate is 2.6% plus a proportional amount for the change in local government levies and regulated utility fees.
The rent increase cap for 2020 is lower than recent years. The guideline for 2019 initially was set for 4.5%, but that figure was reduced to 2.5% a short time later. Previously, the rent increase guideline was calculated at 2% above the rate of inflation. However, the Province has changed the calculation to match the rate of inflation at the recommendation of the Rental Housing Task Force appointed in 2018.
That task force also recommended new regulations that require landlords to allow tenants to remain during renovations in some instances, and place restrictions on landlords taking a property out of service.
In a statement, Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing says the recent policy changes were made to provide renters with more secure and affordable housing and that, by reducing the rent increase by 2%, the average renter may save $300 in 2020. “People will no longer face the unreasonable rent hikes that were allowed for years,” she says.
Robinson also points to another recent rule change that now prohibits landlords from enforcing fixed-term leases.
The Province has created a Compliance and Enforcement Unit to handle disputes. According to Scott McGregor, the Director of the Compliance and Enforcement Unit, landlords who have been accused of evicting tenants unlawfully or evading the annual rent increase cap are under investigation. “We want renters to feel secure in their homes and to know their rights, and the compliance unit is ensuring that landlords understand that there will be serious consequences for deliberately not following their obligations with the tenancy laws in the province,” he says.
The provincial government currently is working out a system for landlords to seek additional rent increases to cover necessary repairs and maintenance to their properties. These policy updates are expected over the summer.
For additional information, including a rent increase calculator and approved forms and applications, visit the Residential Tenancy Branch.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.