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B.C. moves to cap rent hikes for those in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside



The British Columbia government has introduced new legislation aimed at capping rent increases for new tenants in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, the city’s poorest neighborhood. This measure is designed to protect residents living in single-room occupancy (SRO) buildings, where rents have skyrocketed from $800 a month to as much as $1,950 a month.


The Ministry of Housing announced that this initiative could benefit around 1,000 people, preventing them from being "exploited by some bad actors who are using pressure tactics on tenants" to force them out and then increase the rent. 


The proposed legislation will give the City of Vancouver the power to enforce vacancy control in the Downtown Eastside, a move not currently being considered for other parts of the province. Vacancy control would ensure that rent prices remain stable even when a new tenant moves in, curbing the rapid increases that have been displacing residents.


Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim praised the proposed changes, emphasizing that the city’s vacancy control bylaw is crucial for protecting low-income tenants. Many of these tenants rely on SRO units as their last refuge before potentially becoming homeless. 


"Ensuring that Vancouver remains a place where everyone can find a sense of belonging, regardless of their income, is a top priority," said Sim. He highlighted that the bylaw is a significant step towards addressing the urgent need for low-income housing and safeguarding vulnerable residents.


According to the Downtown Eastside Collaborative Society, at least 500 tenants have already been displaced from private SRO units. The society warns that this number could rise significantly over the summer if no protective actions are taken.


With this new legislation, the B.C. government aims to provide much-needed stability for one of the city’s most at-risk populations, ensuring that more people can afford to stay in their homes.


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