Tenants Speak Out and Share Their Concerns and Opinions on the Rental Industry
As part of our “Let’s Improve the British Columbia Rental Industry” we have invited landlords and tenants to share their opinions on how we can make these improvements. These opinions are from individual contributors and are not the opinions of the BC Landlords Association. We believe by fostering communication between landlords and tenants we can improve the BC rental industry. Landlords and tenants can share your thoughts and opinions by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
BC Tenants Speak Out: We Need To End This Ridiculous Loophole That Allows Landlords To Jack Up Rents Now!
This is just my opinion and hopefully others will agree with me. It’s about time landlords actually invited BC tenants to speak about our how stressful it is to even find a half decent, affordable apartment these days. It’s hard for us hard working tenants to even begin to understand how landlords think.
After all, the reality is you need us to pay your mortgages and with the high rents you charge you are probably not only paying off your mortgage but also raking in lots of extra cash for the next Ferrari or Porche SUV for your teenage son.
I think one of the first things we need to do to improve the rental industry is quickly close the ridiculous loophole that gives free reign for bad landlords to jack up rents on hard working tenants who are struggling already just to make ends meet.
From my own experience this is how bad landlords use the loophole to rip off tenants. When I was looking for my last apartment the landlord only offered me a what is called a fixed term lease for one year only.
In the lease they demanded I sign a tiny weird little box they said to “check”.
The little box seemed so insignificant at the time and the landlord never even tried to explain what it really meant. So I checked off that tiny little box without even thinking about it. Only later did I find out how that tiny little box could influence my life and hurt me financially as well as giving me unneeded stress that led to migrains and physical ailments.
By checking off on the “little box” I found that even though I told the landlord I was going to stay at least a couple of years I would have to vacate the apartment at the end of one year or sign a new lease, kind of like starting over like I was a new applicant, like I didn’t just spend a year of my life there and pay 12 months of hard earned, too high rent money.
After one year was over I thought what the landlord and I agreed to the year before would apply. We agreed for me to stay two years but would sign an annual lease because that was their policy. “Sure, fine, at least it’s a home for me and my five year old and close to work” I thought at the time.
Let’s face it, if you are a Tenant in British Columbia these days you don’t have a lot of choices and need to get what you can just to survive.
At the end of the lease the landlord told me for me to stay I would have to sign a brand new lease instead of just changing the date on the current one. I thought at least the lease would go month by month on the same terms.
“Shouldn’t the landlord work to keep a good paying client like me in their rental unit for as long as possible?” I thought.
When the landlords presented the new lease for me saying “if you want to continue living in MY apartment” everything was the same except for the date and…a much higher rent!
In British Columbia we have a rent increase guideline so landlords can’t gouge tenants with huge rent increases.
Or so I thought. After challenging the landlord on the much higher rent she explained because this was a new fixed term lease, the terms can change…because I checked that little tiny, apparently insignificant at the time, little box.
The little box impacted my life in a negative way. I never expected to pay so much higher, and with my already tight budget for healthy food, extra classes I was taking, and some clothes and recreational activities for my child, it meant big changes in my life just to keep living in my home.
I’m no fool and learned an important lesson.
The system allows unscrupulous landlords to gouge hard working BC Tenants by allowing them to bypass the annual rent increase guideline.
After doing some research it looks like a landlord group called ROMS BC lobbied to get this “little box” added to leases.
I don’t know if it’s true, but if this is so it makes the situation even worse because if landlords specifically made this happen it’s not fair because tenants didn’t have a say in the process.. It’s really shocking and every BC landlord and BC tenant should read it, if that’s how things really happened. The weird thing they say the fixed term lease box actually helps tenants.
Maybe the “box” makers had good intentions, but at least in my honest opinion and experience it’s being abused.
The problem is landlords network and they are kind of ‘unified’ in all making us check that little box. That little, nasty, life-altering box that is playing a key role in destroying the entire social fabric of our province is becoming less fair every day.
Fixed term leases with that little box are creating leases that are weaponized to create harm and grief for thousands of people. It’s time to end this loophole, now! This way we can make things more fair for landlords and all the tenants here in need of housing stability to build our lives and help our children be successful for the future of our province.
It’s time to end this loophole now! This way we can make things more fair for good landlords and tenants who need housing stability to protect our families. This is just my opinion but hopefully others will read it and agree and it will lead to positive change.
Thank you for your time reading this.