British Columbia

New Victoria advisory committee organizing to help renters

A new committee in Victoria, tasked with providing rental advice to to city council, is looking for members.

Committee aims to include renters in city’s decision-making process

Sixty per cent of Victoria's residents are renters, according to Coun. Jeremy Loveday. (Getty Images/RooM RF)

Victoria city council has given the green light to the creation of a renters' advisory committee, in hopes of helping regulate the rental situation in B.C.'s capital city.

This, after city councillors Sharmarke Dubow and Jeremy Loveday first introduced a motion to that effect in November, 2018.

"We are in the midst of an acute housing crisis in Victoria," Loveday told CBC On The Island's guest host, Khalil Akhtar. "This crisis most impacts people without security of tenure for their homes."

Loveday said that about 60 per cent of Victoria's residents are renters, and that renters have historically been underrepresented in city council's decision making processes.

12 volunteers needed

According to the city's website, the committee is tasked with providing advice to council on matters involving renting, including improving conditions for renters, the impacts of provincial and federal legislation on renters and enhancing the inclusion of renters in developing municipal policy.

But before the committee can begin advising city council, it needs members.

The city says it is looking for 12 volunteers, to be appointed by city council, who will serve a two-year term on the committee, along with two city councillors. 

Loveday said ideal candidates will have experience with renting or have been advocates for renters.

"I think there is a very diverse set of experiences that renters have in the city, whether that be senior citizens, or families, or people with disabilities or people in unique living situations that the city might not be aware of or have their their needs or their ideas on our radar," he said.

Victoria city councillors Jeremy Loveday, pictured, and Sharmarke Dubow put forth a motion in November to create a renters' advisory committee. (City of Victoria)

Landlords, however, need not apply.

"In my experience over the last four years, I definitely haven't noticed a lack of representation from landlords or their advocates," Loveday said. 

It's uncertain what the committee will offer city council in its first term, but Loveday said he is confident that its existence will increase renters' voices in municipal politics. 

"I don't want to predict what this committee will present to council and what their advice will be, but I do think we will greatly benefit from hearing from the diversity of Victoria's renters and getting those perspectives into city hall."

The deadline to apply to join the renters' advisory committee is Jan. 17.

With files from On The Island

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