Vacancy rates in B C are the lowest in Canada

There are approximately 1.5 million renters in British Columbia today. Vacancy rates in British Columbia are some of the lowest in the country, averaging 1.3% across the province. In some communities, such as Vancouver and Kelowna, the vacancy rate has fallen below 0.9%. With rental vacancy so low, the B.C. government is committed to making sure renters have secure housing and rental-housing providers have the confidence to make their properties available for rent. This will help to increase housing availability and affordability. The Residential Tenancy Act (Act) has not undergone a comprehensive review in 16 years. The Act is integral to the landlord-renter relationship, as it governs how renters and landlords work together. The Residential Tenancy Branch is the department that is in charge of these residential tenancy laws and provides invaluable dispute resolution hearings to renters and landlords. The realities of the rental housing market have changed in recent years and the outdated Act leaves both renters and rental housing providers vulnerable. Updating our tenancy regulations and laws to reflect the current realities of our housing market and other advancements is necessary to ensure the sustainability of our rental market for decades to come. In the fall of 2017 and spring of 2018, several changes were introduced to modernize and balance provincial tenancy laws. These included increased fines for people who wrongfully evict their tenants and the elimination of geographic rent increases, which allowed rental housing providers to increase rents to correspond to match other rentals in the same area. These legislative changes were the beginning of a larger undertaking to ensure B.C. tenancy laws reflect fair process, and ensure safe, secure and affordable housing for both renters and landlords. Canada recognizes housing as a human right. As such, safe and secure housing is critical to personal wellbeing. However, much of our housing is provided by businesses, non-profits, and individuals. If we want to safeguard people’s right to a good home, we also need to consider the financial decisions needed to maintain and improve that housing, to help ensure we have enough and that it is in good repair.


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