West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA, Jordan Sturdy, has introduced a private member’s bill that proposes immediate action be taken by the NDP to address skyrocketing residential rents on Crown land.
“Rent for tenants who live on Crown land is based on a percentage of the assessed value of the property and in the last year, due to booming property values places like the Sea to Sky region, tenants are seeing rent increases of up to 300 per cent,” said Sturdy. “It’s hard to understand how the government could cap rent increases in 2022 at 1.5 percent for every landlord but themselves.”
For years, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations has had its Crown land rent policy under review, however, this has yet to result in any meaningful change. Due to the booming housing market, this calculation method is broken and unfair to Crown land renters.
Sturdy has proposed through this bill that the maximum Crown Land Residential lease rate increases be subject to the same limitations as are imposed on all other landlords in British Columbia and be tied to allowable increases as set out by the Residential Tenancy Act.
“I have lived on Crown lease land for 18 years. When I moved here in 2003, my annual lease fee was $1,500. Three years ago, because of our proximity to the booming real-estate market in Squamish, my lease fee went up 266 per cent,” said Jenny Smack, a Crown land tenant in Sturdy’s riding. “I don’t understand how the government can increase rents from $8,000 to $20,000 in a single year, especially during a pandemic.”
It is time for this government to intervene, limit rent increases as they have done for other renters, fix this broken policy and allow these people to remain in their homes.