The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) is speaking out against a fee increase to rental tenants seeking a dispute resolution through the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB).
The new fee took effect on Jan. 1.
A renter filing a dispute resolution application with the RTB will now have to pay $100. That’s up from $50. An appeal review will now cost $50, up from $25.
“British Columbians are being forced to rent because they have no way of getting into the red hot real estate market,” said BCGEU treasurer Paul Finch. “Low income people cannot absorb a fee hike this extreme, thereby denying them any recourse when landlords violate the residential tenancy act.”
The BCGEU represents B.C. government employees who work for the RTB. Members in government jobs have told the union their efforts to serve the public in a timely and effective manner are obstructed by chronic understaffing in their offices.
“Resources are inadequate in these offices, but renters shouldn’t have to foot the bill to fix the system. There has to be another way that doesn’t deny low income renters access to dispute resolution,” said Maria Middlemiss, second vice-president of the BCGEU’s administrative services component.
“How is this fair to renters? Especially in light of this week’s boost in the homeowners grant threshold, ensuring people with homes worth up to $1.2 million get a break in property taxes,” said Finch.