B.C. rent freeze ends in December; 2022 rent increases limited to 1.5 percent

The B.C. government has announced that the rent freeze implemented as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic will end on December 31, 2021.

As well, starting on January 1, 2022, the maximum allowable rent increase will be 1.5 percent.

News of the limited increase, which is tied to inflation, appeared in a September 8 news release from the Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing.

Landlords wishing to increase tenants rents as of the start of the new year must give three months’ notification via an approved rent-increase form.

Rents can only be increased once per year. Prior to 2018, B.C. landlords could add an additional two percent increase to the established rate of inflation, but no longer.

Because the rent freeze has been extended until December 31, 2021, any rent-increase notices that came into effect at any time in 2021 are not legal.

In the release, the ministry offered the following to explain how it arrives at the inflation-based allowable increase:

“* The maximum allowable rent increase is defined by the 12-month average per cent change in the all-items Consumer Price Index for B.C. ending in July the year prior to the calendar year for which a rent increase takes effect.

* For example, if a rent increase takes effect in 2022, the maximum allowable rent increase is the 12-month average per cent change in the all-items Consumer Price Index for B.C. ending in July 2021.”

The ministry noted that the rent-increase limit is not applicable to cooperative housing, some assisted-living facilities, commercial tenancies, and nonprofit housing where rent is tied to income.

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