Congratulations to New Westminster city council on their recent unanimous approval of a new bylaw to protect renters from renovictions. Landlords there will now face the prospect of fines of up to $1,000 a day or losing their business licence and, with it, the right to be a landlord if they increase rents after renovations are completed, or otherwise break the law, such as evicting tenants without giving them fair notice or first right of refusal to move back in.
This will protect tenants from landlords who use renovations as an excuse or pretext with which to get around the Residential Tenancy Act, which limits rent increases to the rate of inflation plus 2.5% of the rent once a year.
Currently, many tenants see their rent skyrocketing by up to 100% due to a renoviction!
Hopefully, the New Westminster initiative will give Vancouver’s COPE city councillor, Jean Swanson, the momentum to put forward a similar bylaw. She is quickly becoming known as the best friend of tenants on Vancouver city council. The icing on the cake would be for Vancouver city council to approve such a motion, and other jurisdictions in Metro Vancouver to quickly follow suit.