B.C. government scraps loophole allowing geographic area rent increases

Landlords will no longer be able to get large rent increases above the allowable rent increase limit when other units in the same geographic area rent for higher amounts.

New regulations to take effect Dec. 11

The geographic rental clause allowed landlords to increase rent to match neighbouring units in hot rental markets. (CBC)

B.C.'s provincial government announced it will eliminate another loophole that allowed some landlords to subject renters to big rent hikes.

Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert said Saturday the government will remove the geographic rent increase clause.

The clause allowed landlords to increase rent above the allowable rent increase limit when other units in the same geographic area rent for higher amounts.

For example, in hot rental markets, landlords were able to raise rents by 30 to 80 per cent to match neighbouring prices, significantly over the allowable four per cent yearly rent increase, set out in provincial law.

Tenant Ross Waring said he and his building neighbours had been subject to such an increase in Vancouver's West End neighbourhood.

"The landlords that we used to have threatened us with massive rent increases — some of us up to 73 per cent. That's not [something] anyone can handle in this day and age," Waring said.

Waring welcomed Saturday's news that the province intends to close the loophole.

The new rule will come into effect on Monday Dec. 11, along with a previously announced legislation to close the fixed-term rental loophole.

With files from Jon Hernandez