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Vacancy controls ultimately harm renters

By David Hutniak for The Vancouver Sun

Vacancy control would tie rent controls to a unit rather than the tenant. Currently, rental owners have the flexibility to adjust rents between tenants to account for building and unit upgrades and other increased costs like property taxes, insurance and utilities.

Vacancy control would remove this ability. If rent is tied to the unit, the incentive for a rental owner to ensure necessary upgrades, including seismic and energy efficiency standards are completed to aging buildings, is severely compromised. Furthermore, rental home builders confirm that vacancy control would be the death knell for rental home construction.

What is particularly concerning is that certain stakeholders continue to insist that the impact of vacancy control is “benign” and that there are no unintended consequences. Furthermore, they incorrectly suggest that jurisdictions, most notably Manitoba, has not seen any discernible effect on new rental supply because of vacancy control. This is flat-out wrong and frankly hugely harmful to renters and our community.

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Pointing to Manitoba’s rental legislation, and vacancy control in particular, as the “panacea” for British Columbia is full of folly, ignores the many other very significant factors that influence the tepid new rental development they are experiencing and, more critically, ignores the basic premise of supply and demand, which is why we have a rental housing crisis in Vancouver in the first place.

We need to build more secure purpose-built rental housing in Vancouver and across the region so that we can get to a balanced vacancy rate and provide housing options for current citizens, the 50,000 new residents coming to Metro Vancouver each year, the record number of international students coming here, the 5,000 Amazon workers on their way in the next two years, and on and on and on. Our economic future depends upon it.

Continue reading the full story here >>

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