Mayor calls for improvements to Residential Tenancy Act to support renters

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is introducing a motion at City Council tomorrow asking the City’s new Renters Advisory Committee to review the provincial Residential Tenancy Act, and provide recommendations to Council on key changes for which to advocate.

More than half of all Vancouver households rent. Vancouver has some of the lowest vacancy rates in the country, with the English Bay West End neighbourhood having a vacancy rate of just 0.7%. 3% is considered a healthy vacancy rate.

“The combination of rising rents and aging rental buildings is putting many families and seniors at risk, and we want to see changes in place to better protect renters in neighbourhoods throughout Vancouver,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “While we’ve seen remarkable progress in recent years after decades of inaction – with more than 3,000 new rental units approved under our rental incentive programs since 2012 – more needs to be done to help support renters, especially those on low incomes.”

The City’s new Renters Advisory Committee was recently established to give renters a direct voice at City Hall. The Mayor’s motion directs the Committee to review the RTB and report back with advocacy recommendations to City Council by June of this year.

With Mayor Robertson, the City has taken a number of steps to support renters, including:

  • the creation of an Online Rental Standards Database, which posts building safety history online
  • approving more than 3,000 new units of rental housing since 2012 under Rental 100 and STIR, city programs that provide incentives for rental construction instead of condos
  • approving more than 1,000 new rental laneway homes since 2009
  • increasing the maximum fine on building owners who violate city by-laws
  • seeking, for the first time, legal injunctions to force negligent landlords to repair and maintain their buildings
  • providing financial support to Vancouver’s Rent Bank, which provides short-term loans to renters at risk of eviction