Rental Housing Task Force launches provincewide consultation

Spencer Chandra Herbert

B.C.’S Rental Housing Task Force will tour the province in June 2018, stopping in 10 communities to engage British Columbians.

The task force is leading a review to modernize and balance provincial tenancy laws to provide safe, secure and affordable housing.

The focus will be on both renters and rental housing providers. The public will have the opportunity to provide feedback on a range of issues of importance to them by attending a regional public meeting, making a written submission and sharing their ideas via an online engagement site.

The task force will take an in-depth look at the issues and challenges facing renters and landlords, as well as owners of manufactured homes and home park operators. It will work throughout the summer to better understand what further changes may be needed to modernize B.C.’s tenancy laws, including:

* Consulting with the public, rental housing providers, renters, manufactured homeowners, manufactured home park owners and other stakeholders on their views and experiences with current tenancy laws and processes;

* Identifying options to improve security and fairness for both renters and rental housing providers, while addressing the challenges of affordability;

* A review of the existing laws and how they apply to different housing models; and

* Reviewing innovative approaches in other jurisdictions.

“One-and-a-half million British Columbians rent. Our laws haven’t kept up with the changing housing market, and that has left both renters and rental housing providers vulnerable,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End, and Rental Housing Task Force chair. “Modernizing B.C.’s tenancy laws will provide more fairness for everyone, and help to ensure that rental housing providers and renters are able to plan for the future.”

“We’ve made some significant improvements in protections for landlords and renters in the past eight months. Now it is time to ask British Columbians about the issues they are still facing, and the solutions they propose,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox, and Rental Housing Task Force member. “Hearing from stakeholders and the public is critical to striking the right balance between rental housing providers and renters.”

“Together we can build a greater understanding of everyone’s rights and responsibilities, helping to avoid conflicts in the renter-landlord relationship,” said Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, and Rental Housing Task Force member. “Every landlord needs a renter and every renter needs a landlord. Our primary job is to create a situation where the landlord-tenant relationship can thrive.”

In April 2018, Premier John Horgan appointed Chandra Herbert as his advisor on rental housing, and launched the three-member bipartisan task force. The task force will report findings and make policy recommendations in fall 2018 to Premier Horgan, and Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. This is the first full review since 2002, and aims to modernize and balance B.C.’s tenancy laws.


Quick Facts:

* To help renters, the Province is providing $116 million over three years to expand eligibility and increase the average benefits under the Rental Assistance Program (RAP) and Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER).

* The Province is investing $1.1 billion over 10 years to upgrade and improve existing subsidized rental housing throughout British Columbia. This investment will fund seismic and fire-safety upgrades and essential repairs and maintenance, making homes safer and more comfortable for residents.

* The Province is providing $6.8 million in new funding to the Residential Tenancy Branch, to reduce wait times for tenancy disputes, and to establish a new compliance unit to take action against landlords and tenants who are repeat or serious offenders.

* The Province will invest more than $7 billion over 10 years to build the kind of homes people need, in every corner of the province – urban, suburban, and rural.


  1. Re: SAFER Program – I had to move to away from my family in Vancouver a few years ago to either Abbotsford or Chilliwack where the rents were the lowest. I found a place in Abbotsford for $775 per month and which will be $830 come September. I believe that SAFER caps the rent at something like $657 per month, I suppose based on the average rental price when the program started many years ago. CMHC does rental market surveys every year and the maximum SAFER rent should be updated annually based in CMHC’s updated average rents.

    The same thing appears to apply to income. This year, when my rent increased from $775 to $800 my SAFER subsidy actually decreased because my GIS had increased by the cost of living percentage effectively making my rent increase $50 instead of $25. Again, it appears that the SAFER program set maximum income levels at where they were years ago rather than updating them annually by the inflation percentage.

    I believe that both average rents and maximum income should be updated annually based on the actual cost of living.

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