Rent increase above provincial allowance continues to plague renters

Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation’s 2017 rental market report discusses rent increase and average costs


Reported by Becca Clarkson

For the third year in a row, the average rent in Vancouver has increased past the allowance set by each province annually, according to a report release this morning.

According to Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation’s 2017 rental market report, which is based on data from both occupied and vacant units, the average two-bedroom apartment in Metro Vancouver rents for $1,550 per month.

For the past three years, Amelie Segur has paid $1,100 per month to rent her two-bedroom apartment in East Vancouver.

“I heard elsewhere that there was a four per cent increase happening for everyone so I was expecting something to happen,” said Segur of her recent $44 increase in monthly rent. “I am going nowhere, hell no! My rent is $1,150 for a beautifully tacky two-bedroom apartment.”

Rental statistics from the 2017 CMHC annual report

According to the report, vacancy rates have increased 0.2 per cent since 2016, despite the fact that the number of new rental units in Metro Vancouver has decreased by 30 per cent.

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the West End increased from $1,250 to $1,350 when Hannah Campbell and her fiance moved in this year, and was further increased by $50 this month.

“If I want to stay in Vancouver I think I would stay even with an increase in rent because there’s so few options and [it’s] also competitive,” Campbell said. “It already feels like a lot of money for a relatively small space, but I don’t know if I can find anything cheaper.”

Mel Hadden has been a landlord for 1333 East Broadway for the past six years and said he’s frustrated by how often he’s personally vilified for inflations in the market.

The Manhattan Co-op is located on the corner of Denman Street and Thurlow Street in Vancouver

“People can’t understand that I’m just doing my job, it’s not my money,” said Hadden, who added that some of the tenants’ rent hadn’t increased since the 1980s.

“If you haven’t been given rent increases before, you’re just increasing it by four per cent of what you were paying,” Hadden said.

Hadden said it’s illegal to increase a tenant’s rent by more than the provincially designated amount, which is set at four per cent for 2018, though he’s had to evict two people who tried to renovate their one-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom apartment.

“Rent increases above the allowance when [landlords] kick people out and do some renovations. Long as there’s no lease, they can raise it to whatever they want.”

In response to the report, Andrew Sakamoto, media spokesperson for B.C.’s Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre  said the centre receives up to 8,000 phone calls a year, many of which revolve around rent increases over the provincial allowance.

“This has been something landlords have been able to do for years but in the past couple years, it’s taken off,” Sakamoto said. “It’s been our top priority in terms of legislative change for some years now.”

See our interactive map showing the average rent for two-bedroom apartments in various Vancouver neighbourhoods, through Craigslist postings from Nov. 28, 2017.

The map also shows what kind of apartments you can find for roughly $1,550, which the CMHC found to be the overall average rent price for two-bedroom apartments in the area.

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