B.C. boosts funds to agency that handles disputes between landlords and tenants

VICTORIA — The newly created B.C. Ministry of Housing says it is taking steps to speed up and strengthen the process that handles disputes between landlords and tenants.

A statement from the ministry, which was boosted to full ministerial status when Premier David Eby announced his new cabinet earlier this month, says renters and landlords will benefit from the more timely and efficient services.

The B.C. government will increase the operating budget for the Residential Tenancy Branch, which has seen long wait times for dispute resolutions as the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, coupled with more people moving to the province.

The statement says as much as $15.6 million will be available over the next three years to improve staffing and resources and cut wait times for hearings.

Fifty new employees will be added and the ministry says the funding will double the size of the branch's compliance and enforcement unit, which handles repeat or serious offences such as illegal evictions, and has the teeth to impose fines.

The ministry says the additional funds will also help the unit intervene earlier, potentially preventing the need for hearings in the first place, and it will be able to take on more cases.

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon says renters and landlords "have been clear" that the current residential tenancy dispute resolution process isn’t working fast enough.

“We hear you and we are taking action to speed up service and strengthen enforcement to address things like repeat or serious offences like illegal evictions, so renters and landlords can get the fair treatment and timely support they deserve," Kahlon says in the statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 28, 2022.

The Canadian Press