A commentary by a Victoria resident.
I have been a landlord in B.C. for more than 40 years. I have provided a lot of good-quality accommodation to a lot of people during that time, but I am now selling my portfolio.
Why? The B.C. government doesn’t understand the difference between “mine” and “yours.”
When the government found itself with a housing shortage, rather than build more homes, or create an environment for more homes to be built, they saw an opportunity to extort money from those who are successful.
They implemented a wealth tax on those who had vacation homes, and who owned condos in the city in which they could live during the week if their main homes were in the country.
They labelled this a “speculator’s tax,” although it caught anyone who’d inherited a vacation home on the lake that granddad built in the 1920s and that the owners had no thoughts of selling. The NDP solved their problems with someone else’s real estate.
When COVID hit, the NDP government decreed that if tenants didn’t pay the rent, landlords had to simply let them continue to live in the unit; in essence they were allowed to steal the accommodation, notwithstanding that most were now in receipt of CERB benefits.
The government precluded the landlord from chasing the tenants for back rent. Government didn’t mandate that landlords could cease paying their mortgages, or that the banks couldn’t foreclose on the landlord’s property, though.
Once again, the NDP government solved their problems with someone else’s real estate.
Two years later, government was still too inept to deal with the housing shortage, so they decided they needed a new target: Short Term Rental owners and operators. They didn’t shut down illegal Airbnbs.
They usurped the rights of legitimate owners who had the required zoning to operate, who had paid the premium such properties commanded, who had paid for all permits and licences from local governments and who were remitting all taxes required. They simply extinguished the right of these real estate owners to continue to legally operate. They offered no compensation to those affected, and glibly declared that the owners should just sell their units. Once again, the NDP solved their problems on the backs of landlords by using property owners’ real estate for their own ends.
What’s next? A decree that a landlord can’t charge more than 30 per cent of a tenant’s income? I’m not waiting around to find out. My units are selling, and the tenants, many with long-term rent-controlled sweetheart rents, are being displaced by owners who are moving in.
Is there any doubt as to why B.C. leads the country in “non-monetary evictions?”
I was brought up to believe that we lived in a country of laws and of fair play and that we could trust government to abide by those overarching tenets.
Apparently, with the NDP, that isn’t the case. The NDP government is running out of landlords to victimize, yet the housing situation isn’t getting any better. Fewer landlords equals fewer rentals. There are thousands of landlords just like me who aren’t going to allow themselves to be victimized by the NDP any longer.