A new national report on residential rentals says one-bedroom rental prices skyrocketed far above the B.C. cap on prices.
The report by Zumper.com ranked Victoria ranked as the fourth most expensive rental market in the nation last month with the prices of one- and two-bedroom suites settling at medians of $2,080 and $2,610, respectively.
“Notably, the price of one bedrooms in Victoria is up 18.9% since this time last year,” reads the report, which analyzed data from the 23 largest cities in Canada.
The maximum allowable rent increase for 2023 is just two per cent, which means a large number of rents are being increased while a rental unit is unoccupied.
And many Victoria renters are fed up with the prices, posting concerns on social media and contacted Black Press Media. Some have claimed landlords are evicting tenants by saying they are moving family members into the units – only to simply raise the rents and rent out the home to someone else.
Doreen Marion Gee wrote about the issue to the Victoria News.
Gee said that while B.C. does restrict how much a landlord can raise the rent for an existing tenant, it’s led many landlords to push out tenants through any means possible so they can “jack up” the rents to “outrageous” levels.
“We desperately need rent controls in B.C. not only to increase the supply of affordable rentals, but also to protect tenants who have been living in the same suite for years at lower rent levels,” Gee writes. “Due to a lack of rent controls, housing for long-term tenants has become precarious, unstable, and unpredictable. I know because I am one of those renters affected.
“Being able to raise the rent as high as they want for new tenants is one hell of an incentive for landlords to force long-term tenants out by any means possible. Unfortunately, our landlord-friendly Residential Tenancy Act contains many ways, numerous loopholes, and very effective tools that unscrupulous landlords can easily utilize to torment good tenants – making their lives such a living hell that they are forced to leave just to keep their sanity.”
According to a report back in January by Rentals.ca, Victoria’s “average rents increased 19.9 per cent (year over year) for purpose-built and condominium apartments in December.”
Victoria came in ninth on the list for average monthly rent in December for a one-bedroom home at $2,001, and fifth for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,799.
When issuing a new notice of rent increase, a landlord must:
Use the approved notice of rent increase form
Use up to the maximum amount for 2023: 2%
Give the tenant no less than three full months before the notice takes effect.
“Landlords can only increase the rent once in a 12-month period by an amount permitted by law or an additional amount approved in advance by an arbitrator – they need to use the right form and give the tenant three full months’ notice of the rent increase,” reads a post on the B.C. government website.
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