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Relief for B.C. renters on its way: Horgan

Premier promises to act on recommendations of rental task force
Premier John Horgan speaks to delegates at the 2018 convention of the Union of BC Municipalities | Jeremy Hainsworth

With renters facing significant rent hikes, Premier John Horgan says he’s hopeful a new formula for setting limits on increases will arrive soon.

The provincial government currently uses the B.C. Consumer Price Index to determine increases.

It adds up to a top annual rent increase of 4.5 per cent next year – the largest allowable rent hike in more than a decade.

And, with the province and the Lower Mainland in particular, that’s sparked a lot of concern as wages have not increased significantly and the vacancy rate sits at about one per cent.

Horgan said a task force headed by Vancouver West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert is underway.

“I’m confident the formula will be in that report,” Horgan said. “We’ll take action when we get it.”

He said wages have not kept up with the rental rates, and that his government “inherited the system we have in place now … from the Liberals.”

BC Liberal Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson said the rental issue is not helped with the NDP government proposing taxes such as the speculation tax on property and the Employers Health Tax.

He said those taxes will be passed on to consumers which eventually filters down to housing options.

Wilkinson questioned where the promised NDP rent rebate is.

In his speech at the closing of the Union of BC Municipalities conference in Whistler Sept. 14, Horgan suggested the BC Greens were blocking the rebate.

It’s an issue Horgan and Green Leader Andrew Weaver have been at loggerheads on.

Weaver said Horgan’s accusations were not helpful.

“I would like to see a sombre reflection on this in light of affordability,” Weaver said.