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Editorial: Renter protection is needed more than ever

It’s more important than ever to ensure measures are in place to secure the homes people do have

British Columbia is having trouble housing everyone who wants to be here. So it’s more important than ever to ensure measures are in place to secure the homes people do have.

B.C.’s Rental Housing Task Force concluded its consultation period last week after a month-long tour around the province that included a stop in Nanaimo last month.

The provincial government is promising that the task force’s work will be considered this summer, with a recommendation expected in the fall for ways to update, and ideally, improve renter protections.

In the spring, the province announced new measures in an effort to combat renovictions, mandating tenants be provided with more time to find alternate housing or to file disputes, as well as receive better compensation from landlords who force tenants out and then change their plans for renovations.

With the housing crisis in full swing from Vancouver to Vanderhoof, the new guidelines helped offer hope for people. We know some of our neighbours have teetered on the edge of homelessness, sometimes because of a rapid rise in rents.

As generations begin to get priced out of home ownership, the number of people in this province who rent is steadily rising. It has nothing to do with one’s education level or income, race or even gender – it is quickly just becoming the norm.

There’s potential for creative – and better yet, sensible and necessary – measures to be recommended by the task force. Any attention the issue gets will hopefully create awareness among renters about their rights. Because even in an overheated rental market, there are rules about fair and reasonable dealings in these places where we live.

This editorial was adapted from one that was published in another Black Press newspaper.

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