The B.C. government did a good thing when it capped the amount landlords could raise the rent each year.
And people need the relief here in Victoria.
According to a report by Rentals.ca, Victoria’s “average rents increased 19.9 per cent (year over year) for purpose-built and condominium apartments.”
A second report by Zumper said Victoria ranked as the fourth most expensive rental market in Canada last month, with the prices of one and two bedrooms settling at medians of $2,100 and $2,540, respectively.
“Notably, the price of one bedrooms in Victoria is up 14.1 per cent since this time last year,” said the report.
So limiting how much landlords can raise the rent offers some relief to local renters, but it’s also having some side effects.
For one, some landlords are now no longer putting any money into maintenance to offset rising costs of such things as insurance and property taxes. (Tenants don’t seem to understand that inflation also hits landlords, although they do also see big increases in the equity on their home.)
The other impact has been some unscrupulous landlords evicting tenants through dubious means, such as pretending they are going to move in a relative or making life so miserable for a renter that they agree to leave.
Then they jack up the rent as high as they can.
This isn’t all landlords, of course, as many are good and provide reasonable rentals.
Then there is the landlord faced by Tracey N., who wrote to me about the hell she went through after investors came sniffing around the property.
“When I moved in (nine years earlier), the rent was $1,200. After three years, the landlady raised the rent to $1,500 (with) three months’ notice. Then … she came to my house, sat me down in my living room and told me that her investors (as she owns many properties) want the rent raised.”
She wanted the rent raised by $700 a month, which is outrageous, or she faced “eviction.” – she “signed under duress.”
In 2022, her ex was late three times paying the child support so she was late paying the rent and paid a $65 late fee.
That’s when things got ugly, as the landlady suddenly wanted her out because Tracey didn’t agree to the outrageous (and illegal) rent hike.
“She took me out for drinks and appies, ‘her treat.’
(Then) she pulled out paperwork – and eviction notice … She made me sign it while I was intoxicated. I have concussions so alcohol hits me faster. I was in no state to sign documents.”
Tracey then tried to fight it, but it was no use and so she moved out and “washed my hands of it all.”
Now the place is renting out for $2,800 a month.
“That’s why I was really kicked out,” Tracey said. “Greedy slumlord.”
Chris Campbell is an editor with Black Press Media at the Victoria news hub. Follow him on Twitter @shinebox44.
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