A Kamloops-based property management group that operates several apartment buildings in Prince George isn’t pleased with the province’s decision to cap rent increases at 2% next year.
The move was made to help residents deal with sky-high inflation rates, however, housing minister Murray Rankin says the government is committed to assisting landlords to make any necessary repairs or upgrades.
Kelson Group President, Jason Fawcett told MyPGNow.com that while routine fixes will continue, more major projects might be put on hold.
“We are always going to make sure roofs and the major components are working but if we are going to renovate the hallways or maybe replace windows or take some initiatives to become more energy efficient then that takes a lot of investment to be able to do that.”
“Natural gas and how we heat our buildings, insurance, maintenance, property taxes, water – all of these components that it takes to run a successful rental apartment building like we currently do. As a result, it makes us take a second look at some of the major projects that we have to do to improve the buildings.”
He added the current rent control model has become a two-tier system where long-term tenants pay less while new renters are dishing out more.
“If they moved in when rents were lower then they continue to be much lower and that’s an advantage for them (long-term tenants). Maybe those people do not relocate or they end up staying in Prince George or other locations in the province because they get a good deal on rent.”
“For new residents, they often end up paying more. It’s a burden on them and we think that is the unfortunate part of our economy in order to have a functioning housing market than there needs to be a fair rental rent. Some people are paying less and other people are paying more and that just isn’t a good strategy over the long run,” added Fawcett.
Furthermore, Fawcett believes any permanent solution should be means-tested so that the people who need the most help, get it.
“People that need the most help in our communities should receive it so that they can continue to live in rental housing. We also need to have a better strategy for recognizing the costs of running these buildings over the long run. There should be a fairer way to adjust rent.”
In addition, the NDP government will also increase the family benefit, and the Climate Action Tax Credit for low- and middle-income families.
The province is working with B-C Hydro on additional measures to cope with the high cost of electricity.