Action Needed to End the Eviction Crisis
A recent study out of the University of British Columbia, indicated that 10.6% of renters in the province were evicted from their homes over a five-year period. The study, titled “Understanding Evictions in Canada through the Canadian Housing Survey,” looked at data collected in 2018. By comparison, a study in the Toronto area showed an eviction rate of 5.8%. Tenant advocates have raised concerns that these number may be exacerbated by the pandemic, particularly since the conclusion of the eviction ban.
In addition to causing housing precarity for many working people and families, this high level of evictions is also contributing to the affordability crisis facing our province. In many instances rent was increased substantially following the eviction, thereby contributing to the decline of affordable rental stock. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s annual rental market survey indicates that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment has increased more than 30% over the last five years in Metro Vancouver.
It is therefore clear to us that this situation must be addressed as part of any solution to the housing affordability crisis. The provincial government can take positive action on this issue by immediately releasing all data on evictions in its possession and implementing a system for tracking evictions province-wide while protecting tenant’s privacy rights.
Further, we are also calling on the provincial government to implement rent control that ties the cap on rent increases to the unit rather than the tenant (vacancy control) as soon as possible in order to curb the loss of affordability caused by eviction-related rent hikes.