NDP slams BC Liberals for doubling down against “wacky” renters by supporting unlimited rent increases

Spencer Chandra Herbert

THE NDP on Monday said that BC Liberal housing critic Sam Sullivan added to the growing list of reasons why a BC Liberal government would be bad for renters by confirming his opposition to rent controls. Removing rent controls would lead to unlimited rent increases.

NDP MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert said: “Renters have been asking for help for years, and the BC Liberals ignored them at every step.  Instead, they watched from above as the housing crisis drove prices further and further out of reach. People needed help. Our government heard them and took real action to make their lives more affordable. Now, the BC Liberals are promising to undo it all by okaying uncontrolled rent increases that would be backbreaking for people already struggling to get by.”

Speaking in the House on Monday morning, Sullivan railed against the NDP’s move to cap 2019 rent increases at the rate of inflation instead of allowing the 4.5% hike set to occur under the formula left by the BC Liberals. During his speech, Sullivan called rent increase caps “unbelievable” and “chaos” for the rental market:

“I am almost speechless after hearing my friend from the West End just give me his theories on the economics of rental housing. A few months ago he sent the market of rental housing into chaos after announcing that he would be imposing rent controls. Rent controls!” (HANSARD, March 25)

Sullivan went on to argue for an unrestricted “supply and demand” system for determining rents, lamenting that rent controls “interfere artificially” in that.

The NDP noted in a press statement that the types of regulations that Sullivan opposes have been in place in BC for years and exist in many jurisdictions. His comments are a departure from past BC Liberal policy and suggest the Andrew Wilkinson-led BC Liberals would make life even harder for renters.

It noted that Sullivan’s comments come weeks after BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson was criticized for dismissing renting as “a wacky time of life” and “part of growing up and getting better.”