The BCGEU is encouraged by the government's decision to lower annual rent increases by capping them to inflation. This was one of the recommendations outlined earlier this week by the BC Rental Housing Task Force.
"There is no solution to the housing affordability crisis that doesn't include rental affordability so we are very pleased with the government's decision to cap the maximum allowable rental increase," said Stephanie Smith BCGEU president. "Today's decision is another example of the NDP government putting people first. It's a great first step."
Today's announcement is evidence the government is upholding their election promise to make life more affordable for British Columbians and is taking concrete action towards this goal.
The BCGEU has taken the lead in finding solutions to the housing affordability crisis. In the fall of 2017, the BCGEU, in collaboration with CUPE 1767, launched the Affordable BC campaign. We have since laid out detailed provincial and municipal analysis and policy proposals to solve the housing affordability crisis. One of those recommendations was to change the maximum allowable rent increase formula.
The BCGEU launched a petition earlier this month calling on the BC Government to stop the 4.5 per cent rent increase. It has gained close to 5,500 petition signatures and has acted as one of the many outlets people across B.C. used to voice their opposition to the rent hike.
The 4.5 per cent allowable rent increase was calculated under a formula made under the previous BC Liberal government, which set rent hikes at 2 per cent above inflation. This policy allowed rents to increase much faster than inflation or wages, making it hard for British Columbians to find affordable rental housing.
Now that rents have been capped to inflation, the BCGEU will continue working to get other housing policies implemented.
"This is a great move in response to the overwhelming public need for action on the affordable housing crisis." said Paul Finch, BCGEU treasurer. "Contrary to claims made by Landlord BC, rent has rapidly inflated over the past decade well above tax and maintenance costs. There is no legitimate argument to continue to raise rents amidst a crisis."
The BCGEU's affordability plan is detailed in the Affordable BC report, which can be found at www.affordablebc.ca/our-plan. The original report details actions the provincial government can take to improve affordability, and a more recent report was released that details actions local governments can take.
The BCGEU also entered a submission to the Rental Housing Task Force, which called for rents to be capped to inflation and for vacancy control, a form of rent control that ties rents to the units, instead of a particular lease. This submission can be found at www.affordablebc.ca/rental_housing_task_force_submission.
Get more information: www.affordablebc.ca