British Columbians who live in rental housing are often terrified of being “renovicted.”
To aid renters across the province, on Thursday January 12th, Premier David Eby announced that there will soon be additional protections against being “renovicted” and having buildings be bought and replaced with condos for purchase.
The aid comes in the form of a $500 million ‘Rental Protection Fund.’ According to the province, this fund will be used to protect tenants and preserve affordable rental units for decades.
“Today, we’re taking action to protect renters who found an affordable place to live, but are worried their building will be bought out from underneath them,” said Premier David Eby.
“This fund will allow non-profits to secure older rental buildings and protect vulnerable renters from speculators who can drive up rents and evict tenants who have lived there for years.”
“Instead, community non-profits will now be able to work with tenants to make improvements or expand to house more people, and at the same time protect affordable housing.”
It is becoming commonplace for older rental buildings to be bought out by large organizations and corporations who will tear down or renovate the building and construct a new development that has no place for renters or makes it impossible for them to live there due to rent hikes.
The new protection fund for renters will provide one-time grants to non-profit housing organizations to help them purchase rental buildings and co-op housing units that are listed for sale in order to keep those places affordable, on the rental market and occupied by the tenants who already live there.
BC Housing recently released a report that shows that 2022 had the highest number of purpose-built rental units on record with over 14,500 units being made available to tenants who need them. This is a 10% increase from 2021’s numbers, according to the province.
In 2012, less than 2,000 rental units were built in BC.
BC’s new Minister of Housing, Ravi Kahlon is aware of the fact that affordable housing is on the forefront of most British Columbians minds and he says he wants to make affordable rental units a priority.
“Our province is building more rental housing than ever, but we must also protect what we have. It’s not acceptable for speculators to be pushing renters out of their homes,” said Kahlon.
“By protecting more affordable housing, more people can stay in their homes and build a good life in BC.”
The non-profits that obtain grant funding from the protection fund will be supported by the government to get private financing as well so that income from rent payments of tenants will sustain operating costs. This will minimize the financial involvement of the government.
This protection fund will not be managed by the province but rather by an external agency, the Housing Protection Fund Society.
This society consists of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA), Co-operative Housing Federation BC (CHFBC), and the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA).
The Rental Protection Fund will be available to non-profits who are eligible by the end of March.