Does the City of Vancouver need a rental advocate?

City of Vancouver Rental Advocate

The City of Vancouver needs a full-time Renters’ Advocate to support renters who are being evicted from their homes and to be a voice from the City to the Province on the need to revise the Residency Tenancy Act (RTA). Since the Provincial government has changed the RTA and moved the Resident Tenancy Branch office from where to where? , renters’ security of tenure has been significantly affected and the appeal process has become much more difficult.

Vacancy rates have declined while rents continue to increase and the power imbalance between renters and owners is decidedly in favour of landlords. From “Renoviction”, “geographic catch-up” clauses and Byzantine appeal processes, the conditions for renters in the City of Vancouver have lacked both stability and consistency. These issues have been chronicled by the Renters at Risk Campaign and can be view at their website: Renters At Risk

Last week Vancouver City Council received the final report from the West End Mayor’s Advisory Committee (WEMAC). WEMAC was a group formed to advise the Mayor on West End issues in the interim before a full community plan is rolled out. The committee made 23 recommendations to the Mayor and Council ranging from the establishment of a pedestrian advisory committee to as far reaching as a review of the current commercial zoning bylaws to ensure they support an eclectic and diverse mix of businesses in the West End (rec. #18). Here is a copy of the report that went before Council: WEMAC Report

Two of the more interesting recommendations are:

#9 Support the appointment of a community-based Rental Protection Advocate at the City of Vancouver with a citywide mandate to support renters.


#4 A West End Rental Advocacy Committee be established to develop a robust and sustainable plan for outreach to West End renters for the City of Vancouver. In light of the significant challenges in engaging renters, the committee would also address the many issues identified by this report thereby providing a reliable, cohesive voice for West End renters with other levels of government. This committee would serve as a liaison with other existing community-based rental groups and co- participate in bringing forward initiatives to address rental-housing concerns.

The fact that the Mayor’s own committee recommends the need for a Rental Advocate demonstrates the ciritical importance of such a position.

Over 50% of Vancouver residents are renters. Purpose built rental units, condos that are rented and secondary suite rental housing is an important housing category. If there is a problem or issues with these types of housing it has the potential to affect a lot of Vancouver residents. The stark reality for Vancouver is that there are huge issues with this rental housing, which span all levels of government. These circumstances make it more challenging to develop the needed solutions, but it would be well worth the investment given the large constituency affected.

3 Responses to “Does the City of Vancouver need a rental advocate?”

  1. stu says:

    A renter’s advocate is an old idea that has been around for years… it’s just that Vision doesn’t want this to happen as must protect it’s political funding from the developers.

  2. […] about the need for a rental advocate in Vancouver before to support renters who are being evictedread it here There are a number of problems with the Resident Tenancy Act (RTA) that are having an adverse […]

  3. […] For example,1365 Burnaby Street is a 10 unit rental building that is in much need of renovations. While the owners of the building are permitted under the rules of the Rental Tenancy Act (RTA) to evict tenants to do major repairs, what happens to these renter when they are displaced from their homes? While there is much need in Vancouver for affordable rental stock, there is no plan by the city to assist tenants to find new homes when their building is being renovated or redeveloped. Also there is no rules in RTA that state tenants have the right to come back to their homes after it has been renovated or redeveloped. With a large portion of the rental stock coming to the end of its viability the city should be planning with such low vacancy rates, to assist tenants who will be displaced through renovation and redevelopment. Related article:Does the City of Vancouver need a rental advocate? […]

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