Recently, B.C.’s provincial government made good on the campaign promise to freeze residential rental rate increases for the rest of 2021. On March 1, the government started the process to make that happen in the legislature.
With this move, by the close of 2021, rental housing providers will have faced two full calendar years of 0% rental rate increases. Not only that, but once increases are allowed again, owners will also presumably be at least two years behind in compounded increases lost.
Against this backdrop, here’s an actual example of what one of our clients has faced in expense increases from 2019 to 2020 for a 20-suite building in the City of Vancouver:
- Property taxes: +24%
- Insurance: +36%
- Heat and light: +16%
- Water and sewer: +10%
- Cleaning and sanitation: +6%
Many people have suffered greatly in the last 18 months, physically, financially and mentally. There’s certainly good reason for some to have a break from increased rents. Yet those who may actually be better off financially, and who are able to pay their increases, should be expected to pay their share of the burden of costs, as they would in normal times.
So the NDP made good on its promise. Yet if increasing the availability of rental housing is also really a goal, what’s next? As we all know, you can’t create a barrage of negative (even if well-intentioned) policies in rental housing without decreasing the likelihood of construction.