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More than 12,000 new rental units under development would be at risk of cancellation if the oft-mooted “vacancy control” mechanism were to be implemented, according to a new Urban Development Institute (UDI) survey released November 21.
Vacancy control is a form of rent control that is linked to a unit rather than a tenant – meaning that the landlord would be restricted in the amount they could raise the rent between tenancies. As of 2019, rent control has been capped at the inflation rate, set at 2.5 per cent, which means B.C. landlords can only raise rents by 2.5 per cent for sitting tenants.
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However, currently landlords may raise the rent by however much they wish between rental leases, which has prompted calls for a vacancy control system tying rental increase caps to the unit. Tenants’ right advocates such as Vancouver’s COPE councllor Jean Swanson have argued that vacancy control is essential to prevent renovictions and stop landlords jacking up rents between tenancies. Such concerns are being heard by the B.C. Rental Housing Taskforce, which is set to release its next set of recommended changes to the Tenancy Act on November 30. The possibility of imminent changes prompted the UDI to survey its members on the outcome of a vacancy control.