Victoria councillor wants landlords to be able to raise rents to match rising property taxes
If Victoria Coun. Geoff Young’s proposal gets adopted and the province agrees, rents in Victoria could become even higher than they already are.
"Basically it's to allow renters to see some of the impact of budget decisions that the city council is making," Young told CTV News Wednesday.
Young wants landlords be allowed to tie a portion of a tenant’s rent to property taxes.
He says budget talks are currently being discussed at council and there is a long list of projects that his fellow councillors want to see included in the coming year.
"If we do them all, there is going to be a pretty significant tax increase," he said.
Young says a large percentage of Victoria residents are renters.
Currently the province has capped rental increases to 1.5 per cent for the year.
The councillor says with his proposal, renters in the capital will immediately feel the pinch, just as landlords do when city spending goes up, leading to an increase in property taxes.
However, he says the impact to renters would be minimal, as only 10 per cent of the province's formula for calculating rent caps are based on property taxes.
Not everyone agrees with Young's point of view, however.
"It’s a way of making people aware that maybe council isn’t as concerned about keeping the tax burden low as maybe they ought to be," said one Victoria condo owner.
"It really is an awareness issue and I don’t think he has a chance of getting it passed," said his wife.
"I think it obviously is a bad idea," said another woman who rents in downtown Victoria.
"Right now there’s a chronic shortage of rental housing," said David Hutniak, CEO of Landlord BC.
Hutniak says that shortage has been exacerbated by homeowners cashing out during the recent boom in real estate prices. Along with that, there just isn’t enough purpose-built rental units being constructed.
He says Young’s idea is too complicated and that he couldn’t imagine that the province would go along with it.
He would like to see an incentive given to landlords, in order to keep them in the game.
"It would be great to see a property tax rebate if you’re a landlord," said Hutniak.