Evictions worry Terrace, B.C. city councillor

Housing getting increasingly tight in northwestern B.C. city

Terrace city councillor and Terrace and District Community Services Society advocate Stacey Tyers hears from people struggling with housing every day.

“It’s horrible out there,” she said. “You just have to look in the paper at the ads to see how much (rental units) are going for now.”

And one trend she struggles with is an increase of renters being evicted for renovations.

“There are legal evictions for renovations, and then there’s using it as a tool to get rid of people to up your rent,” she said, noting an illegal eviction attempt typically follows an attempted illegal rent increase – a landlord is only allowed to increase rent a set amount during a tenancy, but can increase it as much as he or she wants in between tenancies.

In order to evict for renovations legally, “a landlord is required to have their building permits in place, the renovations need to be so extensive that it requires vacant possession, and it comes with a two-month notice with one-month compensation,” she said.

Tyers says it’s understandable that landlords will want a return on their investment.

“They have a right to renovate their properties, they have a right to expect profits for their investments… It’s tough because there are legitimate people on both sides,” she said.

But landlords should also be cautious – she always tells landlords that there’s benefit to long-term, good tenants.

And while she said she is confident the city has done everything it can do to improve the rental situation, she wants to see more help from the provincial and federal governments.

“Lack of housing is a barrier to economic growth,” she said, noting the high housing costs are chasing the average renter out of town and are a hindrance to people who want to move here for work.

“If people can’t move here to fill those jobs, if people can’t move here to work here, we won’t be able to keep growing,” she said.

Tyers is expected to speak to council about housing at tonight’s regular council meeting. She is also looking into organizing a community forum in the near future.