Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver, has asked the City’s Renters Advisory Committee to review the province’s Residential Tenancy Act in order evaluate what improvements would be favourable for renters. The recently established committee was developed to give renters, who comprise over half of Vancouver households, a voice at City Hall.
“The combination of rising rents and aging rental buildings is putting many families and seniors at risk, and we want to see changes in place to better protect renters in neighbourhoods throughout Vancouver,” says Robertson. “While we’ve seen remarkable progress in recent years after decades of inaction – with more than 3,000 new rental units approved under our rental incentive programs since 2012 – more needs to be done to help support renters, especially those on low incomes.”
A vacancy rate of three per cent is considered healthy and Vancouver has some of the lowest vacancy rates across Canada. The English Bay West End neighbourhood, for example, has a vacancy rate of 0.7 per cent, despite the implementation of several measures to support renters in the city.
Since his inauguration, Mayor Robertson has helped the City develop a number of supportive rental policies and programs, including:
- An Online Rental Standards Database, providing information on building safety history;
- The approval of over 3,000 new rental units since 2012 under the Rental 100 and STIR programs;
- The approval of over 1,000 new rental laneway homes since 2009;
- Increasing the maximum fine for building owners who violate city by-laws;
- Legal repercussions for landlords who neglect to repair and maintain their buildings; and
- Financial support to Vancouver’s Rent Bank, which provides short-term loans to renters at risk of eviction.