From Cathy Hodge
To ODN editor
In September 2018, the BC Housing Minister announced that Rent increases will be smaller in 2019. This was announced with the understanding that Landlords would be allowed to apply for a further rent increase, to cover maintenance costs.
Last year maintenance costs were built into the normal rent increase, but now landlords will have to submit an application for these costs. This means if a landlord replaces the boiler or fixes the roof, he can ask to be partially reimbursed.
The announcement was made over 4-months ago – yet nothing has been placed on the BC Tenancy Board website. Landlords across BC are still awaiting further information from the BC Housing Minister on this issue.
I contacted the Residential Tenancy Board in December, and was informed that the application fee would be $300 dollars per rental unit. So, I wrote to the BC Housing Minister in December, to ask if this was correct. They replied that they still hadn’t made a decision. In mid January, I wrote again, but they have yet to reply. I can only guess my letter is sitting at the bottom of a giant in-tray.
The Housing Minster has still not clarified if Landlords will be charged a $300 dollar application fee, per unit, if they wish to cover maintenance costs. If a Landlord has 10 units, he would need to pay out $3,000 to apply for maintenance costs, but only after completing an extraordinary amount of paperwork (one set of paperwork for each unit).
It must be noted, that it’s standard practice for Landlords to pass application fees onto their Tenants, provided the application is successful. This means Tenants will be paying both the maintenance costs AND the $300 dollar application fee, which means that Tenants will end up paying more rent under this scheme, not less.
It is wrong for the government to put the burden of this expense on the Landlords and the Tenants. I hope people will contact their MLA, before a decision is made.
Landlords and Tenants across BC are desperately waiting for information.
How much longer are we to be left in the dark.