Removing rent controls would hurt Northwest families

Dec. 11, 2014

PRINCE RUPERT— The B.C. Liberal housing minister should shelve any plans to remove rent controls in British Columbia says North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice.

“Removing rent controls would hurt northwest families,” said Rice. “We already have a shortage of affordable rental housing and housing for people with complex needs in the region, and that shortage will only get worse if rent controls are lifted.”

Rice was responding to comments made by Housing Minister Rich Coleman, who suggested that he is considering removing rent controls. Currently landlords are allowed to raise rents by a set amount over inflation each year. The annual limit is currently at 2.5 per cent.

“Rental increase regulations are in place to protect renters from landlords raising rents unchecked and to provide predictability to households to manage their budgets. If these rent hike regulations are eliminated, rents will skyrocket and some people will be forced to leave our communities,” said Rice.

“While many homeowners are benefiting from speculation around LNG, we’re also already seeing massive rent increases and renovictions in communities like Terrace, Kitimat and Prince Rupert.”

Rice said that instead of making life harder for northwest renters, the minister and the B.C. Liberal government should be investing more in affordable housing and training so that local people are in a good position to take advantage of LNG opportunities, rather than being driven from their communities by rising costs.

“The B.C. Liberals need to do the groundwork so that we can have LNG communities, rather than LNG camps,” said Rice. “That means investing in affordable housing and increasing training opportunities for local people right now.”