Both landlords and tenants in BC were eagerly waiting for the provincial government to announce the rent increase cap for 2023, and that wait finally came to an end yesterday.
Premier John Horgan and Finance Minister Selina Robinson announced that the rent increase cap -- the amount landlords are allowed to increase rents by -- for 2023 will be set at 2%.
The BC government mandates that landlords must give tenants at least three months notice in advance of an increase, so many were awaiting an announcement ahead of Oct. 1, which would allow rents to be increased beginning Jan. 1. Landlords are also only allowed to raise rents once a year.
The rent increase cap for 2022 was set at 1.5%, up from 2021's 0%, which was set in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to 2018, the cap hovered around 3% to 4% throughout the past decade -- inflation + 2%.
The number set as the cap is also a reflection of the provincial government's response to global inflation, as it had previously committed to setting the cap at below inflation. After surprising themselves with a $1.3B surplus for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the Province of BC also said it would redirect some of that money towards helping British Columbians get through rising costs of living.
"Everyone is feeling the squeeze of global inflation, which is driving up the cost of groceries, gas, and other goods and services", Premier John Horgan said. "Our next support measures will help bring down costs for renters, put money back into people’s pockets and offer families a cushion during challenging times."
Along with the rent increase cap, the government also announced that it would be increasing the next Climate Action Tax Credit and the BC Family Benefit.
The Climate Action Tax Credit uses revenue from the province's carbon tax to reduce costs of living for those with lower incomes. For those who qualify -- 85% of BC residents, the government says -- they will see an increase of up to $164 per adult and $41 per child. For now, this is an one-time increase, and the rebate is expected to arrive in October.
The BC Family Benefit, formerly called the Child Opportunity Benefit, is a payment to families with children below the age of 18, and was created to help combat child poverty and fund opportunities for those children. That monthly payment will be raised by up to $58.33 a month from January to March 2023, a total of $175, for single parents with one child and an income less than $115,000. Families of four will see double the increase. Approximately 75% of families are eligible, the government says.
"People with lower incomes and people raising children are the most affected by the cost increases we’re seeing around the world", said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. "These measures are our next steps in helping to support those who need it most."
This article has been updated to clarify previous rent increase caps.