In our province, there are more than half-a-million rental households. Faced with near-zero vacancy rates, these British Columbians too often find themselves trapped in housing they cannot afford, or have grown out of, yet cannot afford to leave. Some landlords have exploited the situation, using loopholes to force renters to pay more or leave.
For too long, the rights of renters were neglected. Last year, government took the first steps to help renters by closing fixed-term lease loopholes, ending geographic rent increases, and increasing support to the Residential Tenancy Branch.
This spring, government will introduce stronger protections for renters and owners of manufactured homes, and protections for renters facing eviction due to renovation or demolition.
Government will ease the pressures on students by helping B.C.’s public colleges, institutes and universities build new student housing. As students are able to move closer to where they study, the homes they have been living in will be freed up for others.
Government will continue to support low-income renters by enhancing Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters grants and Rental Assistance Program grants for families, to address the gaps that have grown between these vital supports and the true costs of housing.
Government will consider future measures to make renting more affordable.
Starting this year, your government will begin making the largest investment in retrofits and renovations of social housing in B.C. in more than 20 years. These upgrades will preserve much-needed housing stock, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce home-heating bills for the tens of thousands of people who live in social housing.