News / Vancouver

Vancouver promises better protections for renters

Vancouver staff to present reports on empty homes tax and Airbnb

Construction continues on a condo in Vancouver’s pricey Yaletown neighbourhood.

Jennifer Gauthier / Metro

Construction continues on a condo in Vancouver’s pricey Yaletown neighbourhood.

Vancouver is moving forward with its plans to combat the city's near-zero vacancy rental rate, according to a statement from mayor Gregor Robertson.

City staff have been working on two reports on what better regulation in the rental market could look like – one on an empty homes tax and another on Airbnb regulations.

The empty homes tax could impact as many as 10,800 homes sitting empty, according to a release from the mayor’s office.

“Housing needs to be first and foremost about homes, not to be treated as a commodity,” said mayor Gregor Robertson in a written statement.

“Vancouver will continue to do all it can to maintain and protect affordable rental homes, advocate for renters in this tough rental market, and pursue all tools available to ensure the best use of all our housing.”

More than 50 per cent of Vancouerites are renters, according to the city.

Robertson also called on the B.C. government to close the loopholes in the Residential Tenancy Act that allow renovictions and to enable cities to impose higher fines on landlords who break the rules.

He encourages tenants to learn their rights and access the city’s resources to protect themselves.

The city introduced this policy in 2015 to better protect renters when landlords renovate or re-develop existing rental stock.

Residents can look up landlords’ track record of maintaining their property and other issues. The number of violations have dropped by 80 per cent in the past three years, according to the city.

Renters who are at-risk of eviction can apply for interest-free loans. The program stopped 126 evictions in its first two years and has helped 687 people in the past three years.

To read more about Vancouver's housing affordability issues, check out Metro's Code Red series running this fall. 

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