Cautiously optimistic changes to BC housing rules will make life easier for renters

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dated: 2022-11-25 11:28:43 .

The self-proclaimed “lifelong renter” says she’s cautiously optimistic that changes to BC’s housing rules will make life easier for those unable to buy their own home, though she’s still worried about how the rules will work.

Serena Eagland, a registered nurse, says that given the high cost of living in Metro Vancouver, she and her partner don’t see a future where they can afford to buy their own home.

“The reality of public sector wages will not allow us to ever buy in Vancouver,” said Eagland, whose partner works in education.

“We will be renting for the rest of our lives.”

Eagland attended a panel with other tenants about CBC Early editionwhere they discussed Premier David Eby’s new housing plan released on Monday.

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Abolition of age restrictions

The proposed changes include removing age restrictions on some rental units that prevent people with children or those looking to start a family from staying there.

The provincial government also wants to lift rules introduced in some buildings, townhouse complexes and semi-detached houses that prevent apartment owners from renting them to other people.

BC Housing Minister Murray Rankin says there are too many empty apartments because of Strata’s restrictive bylaws. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

“Rules that prevent families with children from living in a home or people from renting their own housing unit are no longer acceptable in our current housing market,” Housing Minister Murray Rankn said in a press release.

Bylaws limiting short-term rentals such as Airbnbs remain permitted, as does the ability to limit certain age communities to those 55 and older.

Rev. Carmen Lansdowne says trying to find a rental apartment for her family of four in Metro Vancouver has been “brutal.” (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The Rev. Carmen Lansdowne says she saw firsthand the impact of the restrictions Eby is trying to remove after her family of four was evicted this summer.

“As a renting family, trying to find a two-bedroom apartment was brutal,” Lansdowne told the CBC Early edition Wednesday. Her family currently lives in a 900 square meter apartment, which is smaller than the top floor of the house they were previously renting.

While she is optimistic about the changes, she worries that the plan still relies on people who own multiple properties choosing to rent out rooms or units instead of focusing on building more dedicated rental units.

Eagland agreed, saying she expects speculators snapping up units to take advantage of the new rules will be outbid for rents.

“We will end up with more competition,” she said.

Owners and sympathizers differ in their views on the changes

David Waldie, a Victoria townhouse owner, says that when people are deciding where to live, they often consider rules that limit the number of rentals allowed in a particular complex.

The province is now taking it away from him.

“You have to think about the properties of the buildings,” he said.

“Some people don’t want to buy a building where there are going to be some other tenants… They want to buy a building where everyone owns and shares ownership of the building.”

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But Martin Merkli, who has been renting an apartment in the same building in Burnaby for 12 years, says people need to take a more positive view of tenants, noting that his interviewees were people with well-paying jobs who don’t care what they can afford. at home.

“The tenants are not big unwashed,” he said.

“We are hardworking people.”

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Cautiously optimistic changes to BC housing rules will make life easier for renters

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