Jean Swanson announcement
Swanson’s campaign for city council includes a plan to implement a complete halt to rent increases for the next four years during B.C.’s new NDP government. Credit: Jean Swanson campaign for City Council

Independent Vancouver city council candidate Jean Swanson unveiled her first major housing policy announcement today, calling on the provincial government to freeze rent increases for four years.

B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch is allowing for a four per cent rent increase this year, up from 3.7 per cent in 2016.

On average, the allowable increase amounts to an extra $70 monthly on an average two-bedroom apartment rental in Vancouver.

“The new rent increases are outrageous,” says Swanson. “People were already struggling to keep up with this city’s inflated rents, and now they’ll have to spend even more.”

She says increases may be much worse as they only apply to existing tenancy agreements, something Swanson says could incentivize landlords to find a way to end the tenancy and charge what the market will bear.

“The way things are right now, landlords have an incentive to kick tenants out using one excuse or another,” says Swanson. “They can jack up the rents for their new tenants.”

Swanson says the provincial government can mandate a zero per cent allowable rent increase for ongoing residential tenancies. “The BC NDP consistently criticized the BC Liberals for failing to act during this worsening housing crisis,” says Swanson. “Now they’re in power and we have to push our friends to do what’s necessary: a complete freeze on rent increases.”

The City of Vancouver will hold the byelection Saturday, October 14, 2017 to replace the council seat vacated by Geoff Meggs, who is now working for Premier John Horgan.