Provincial task force asked to update B.C. tenancy laws and address rental affordability

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      B.C.’s NDP government continues to deepen its involvement in the province’s housing markets.

      Today (April 10), it announced the creation of a task force that will examine tenancy laws and draft recommendations for reforms.

      Called the “Rental Housing Task Force,” it’s been asked to consult with the landlords, tenants, and stakeholders, and come up with suggestions to “improve security and fairness” for those parties while also “addressing the challenges of affordability”.

      In addition, the task force will review how existing laws apply to different forms of housing and look at other jurisdictions with an eye out for “innovative approaches”.

      Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert is leading the group. He’ll be working with Adam Olsen, Green party MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, and Ronna-Rae Leonard, NDP MLA for Courtenay-Comox.

      Chandra Herbert is quoted in a media release emphasizing how many B.C. citizens are affected by the issues that task force has been asked to review.

      "One-and-a-half million British Columbians rent,” he said. “For too long, issues of security, affordability and fairness have been ignored, with the voices of renters and landlords sidelined. We need to bring renters, landlords and all those who care about rental housing to the table to improve our tenancy laws so they work better for everyone. It's time."

      Premier John Horgan is quoted there suggesting that such a review is overdue.

      "Our laws haven't kept up with the changing housing market, and that has left both renters and landlords vulnerable," he said. "This task force will connect with British Columbians, review laws in other jurisdictions and deliver the first full review of our residential tenancy laws in 16 years.

      In October 2017, the Straight reported that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment listing in Vancouver has hit $2,000 a month.

      According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, in 2016, Metro Vancouver's vacancy rate for purpose-built rental housing was just 0.7 percent.

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