October 11, 2022
Colleen Hardwick and TEAM For A Livable Vancouver would implement Vacancy Control on rental housing to stop exorbitant rent increases when vacancies occur in multi-unit apartments; would help keep affordable housing on the market while stopping windfall profits
Hardwick says strong measures needed to protect affordable housing
Vancouver – Renters need much stronger protection from exorbitant rent increases when vacancies occur in multi-unit apartments, says Colleen Hardwick, TEAM For A Livable Vancouver Councillor and mayoral candidate, and a TEAM majority would implement Vacancy Control to keep affordable housing on the market while stopping windfall profits.
“When some landlords jack the rent by $1,000 or more per month when a renter moves out and the unit goes on the market, it devastates affordable housing in Vancouver – that has to stop,” says Hardwick.
“A TEAM majority on city council will move to implement Vacancy Control, so owners of large multi-unit apartment buildings will not be able to increase the rent charged to the previous tenant more than what is fair – that will end any windfall profits while still allowing landlords a fair return on their properties,” Hardwick said.
“There is a huge gap between median rental rates and the median market rates for available housing in Vancouver – this is causing significant hikes in rental rates and a huge drop in affordable housing in our city – it has to stop and we will take strong measures to do so,” Hardwick said.
TEAM will set a term of 2 years for the Vacancy Control implementation and include a “sunset clause” for it to expire – while during that time there will be a full review of the results with recommendations for the future.
And there will be an Appeal Board for apartment owners whose properties have needed repairs and renovations to allow appropriate rental increases to cover those costs.
The Vacancy Control measure will only apply to large multi-unit apartments of more than 6 units and not to smaller rentals, including basement suites, laneway houses, duplexes and other similar situations.
Patrick Condon, founding Chair of UBC’s Urban Design Program, said he is very pleased that TEAM and Colleen Hardwick have advocated Vacancy Control – something he has supported for many years.
“Vacancy Control is absolutely essential to Vancouver to stop the enormous increases in apartment rental rates and the ridiculous windfall profits that some landlords have imposed on those seeking affordable housing in our city,” Condon said.
“This measure will stop the spiral of ever more unaffordable rentals and allow City Council to begin the work needed to make Vancouver somewhere that all renters can continue to live without spending more than they can possibly afford,” Condon said. “This step will make living in Vancouver possible for thousands of those in the missing middle income bracket and reduce the financial pressure on our most important local housing stock now being exerted by outside real estate hedge funds (REITS).”
Renter Linsea O’Shea said that she is facing demoviction in her Vancouver apartment and cannot find anywhere close to her current rent for a similar sized apartment.
“I am losing my home and there is literally nowhere I can move to with the same or even close to the same rent and the same size – I’m being priced out of Vancouver,” O’Shea, a TEAM supporter, says.
Hardwick said that Vacancy Control is needed because while many landlords of multi-unit apartment buildings are not dramatically raising rates when vacancies occur, enough are imposing huge increases to make it impossible for low and medium income renters to afford the rent.
“We can’t keep effectively telling renters there is no room for them in Vancouver at an affordable rate – that will devastate our city’s economy even in the short term and definitely longer term,” Hardwick said.
“TEAM For A Livable Vancouver has already proposed a $500 million co-operative housing fund to create homes for over 4,000 people in up to 2,000 new units on city owned land – and we hope the BC and federal governments will join us to triple those numbers,” Hardwick said. “But we have to stop the enormous rent increases for every unit where a tenant leaves – that is intolerable in an affordable housing crisis.”
Hardwick said that TEAM’s policies are a stark contrast to those of ABC mayoral candidate Ken Sims and Forward Together Mayor Kennedy Stewart – who have solicited donations from the major corporate developers who benefit from unlimited rent increases in vacant rental units.
“TEAM For A Livable Vancouver is the only contending party in the city election that is rejecting big developer donations – because the real or perceived conflict of interest is so obvious when developers who present multi-million dollar project to City Council can look at those voting and know they have contributed significant sums to those voting – that should not be allowed,” Hardwick said.