The recent decision by the Government of British Columbia to review the escalating carbon tax is welcome news to the BC Apartment Owners and Managers Association (BCAOMA). BC’s rental housing industry has been hit particularly hard by the carbon tax and it needs real, short term relief to help maintain the province’s aging rental stock, according to BCAOMA.
The rental housing industry in British Columbia generates upwards of $6.7 billion annually in economic activity and by any measure is one of the province’s largest industries. One third of British Columbians live in rental housing and together they’re the single largest consumer of natural gas in BC.
The carbon tax on natural gas is currently $1.24 per gigajoule. The average British Columbian apartment dweller uses a conservative estimate of approximately 60 gigajoules of natural gas per year. There are approximately 600,000 rental apartments housing the province’s 1.5 million renters, meaning all told they are paying $44.6 million a year carbon tax.
Except renters aren’t paying. The property owners are and because of rent controls they are unable to pass on these increased costs to their renters.
“How can we be expected to go green when this punitive tax pushes us further into the red,” asks BCAOMA CEO, Marg Gordon. “Since property owners can’t pass this growing cost onto their customers it acts as a disincentive to improving and maintaining their buildings. Even though there will be a review, the next hike in the carbon tax will hit us July 1st,” she said. “The money property owners pay to carbon taxes comes out of the same pockets they use to pay for building improvements and maintenance,” says Gordon.
On July 1, 2012, the carbon tax on natural gas is scheduled to rise to $1.49/gigajoule.
She says the BCAOMA looks forward to meeting with government officials as soon as possible to discuss how this serious problem can be remedied. Gordon also says she would like to see leaders in other industries step up to help draw awareness to the issue and urge Victoria to repeal the carbon tax after the government review is complete.
BCAOMA’s position is supported by BC’s other major rental associations, the Rental Owners and Managers Society of BC (ROMS) and the Professional Association of Managing Agents.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in 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.