British Columbia

Landlord registry coming to B.C., but will it help?

Renters in B.C. will soon have a resource to learn more about their prospective landlords, though the effectiveness of the program remains to be seen.

'We wanted to give renters in B.C. a tool and we wanted to provide them with increased confidence.'

The rental vacancy rate in Vancouver is at 0.6 per cent currently. (Abby Schneider/CBC)

Renters in B.C. will soon have a resource to help them learn more about a prospective landlord although it's not clear if it will help make renting safer or less stressful.

Landlord B.C. is launching a registry that will make public a list of landlords who have successfully completed an optional course on residential tenancy laws and practices. 

"We wanted to give renters in B.C. a tool and we wanted to provide them with increased confidence around from whom they're renting." said David Hutniak, CEO of Landlord B.C.

Hutniak said the certification could also serve as a marketing tool for landlords.

But it's unclear how such a scheme will make a difference in the current market, or why a landlord would be motivated to join.

Market tilted against renters

In Vancouver rental vacancy rates have been below one per cent for months, if not years. Landlords seem to have their pick of dozens of potential renters, many of whom are desperate to find a place. 

Hutniak acknowledges the market is currently tilted in favour of landlords, but still thinks the registry will make a difference.

"We're looking at this from the long term perspective," he said.

"Our goal is to 'professionalize' the industry whether it's a tight market or a 3 to 5 per cent vacancy rate."

The cost of the course is $39.95 for a three-year certification. Landlord B.C. charges members a one-time registration fee of $50 and annual membership fees of $150 plus $7 per rental unit registered.

The registry called "I Rent it Right!" launches next month. 

With files from Farrah Merali

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