The provincial government has announced that rent increases will be capped at 3.5 percent in 2024, representing a 1.5 percent increase in the limit from 2023. 

The province said in a press release the 3.5 percent limit is well below the 12-month average inflation rate of 5.6 percent. The cap applies to rent increases with an effective date on or after Jan. 1, 2024. 

B.C.’s housing minister said the large increase is due to the increasing cost of living nation wide.

“Across the country, costs have been increasing — especially for housing — at a rate that’s unsustainable for many people,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of housing. “We know that’s the case for both landlords and renters, and that’s why we’ve found a balance to protect renters while helping to keep rental units on the market.”

Landlords, who are entitled under B.C. law to increase their rent once annually, must provide a full three months’ notice to tenants using the correct Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) forms if they chose to increase their rent.

Before 2018, the annual allowable rent increase in B.C. was based on the inflation rate, plus two percent. The rent increase was reduced to just the inflation rate following a recommendation by the Rental Housing Task Force.

A rent increase freeze was put in place by the province in 2020 and 2021 to support renters during the COVID-19 pandemic. The province said it capped rent increases at 2 per cent in 2023 to protect renters from high inflation, setting the rate well below the 5.4 percent inflation rate that would have otherwise applied.

Moving into 2024, the 3.5 percent rent increase cap represents the highest cap since 2018, when increases were limited to 4 per cent. 

“With renters facing a possible rent increase of almost 6 per cent, the government listened to the voice of renters and acted, and I’m so glad they have,” said MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, the premier’s special liaison for renters and former chair of the Rental Housing Task Force.

“We also know people renting out homes are facing increased costs and want to make sure they continue to make places available for long-term renters.”

The province announced plans to return to an annual rent increase that is tied to B.C.’s Consumer Price Index in future years, as inflation returns to normal levels. B.C. will also provide the RTB with $15.6 million in additional funding to improve services and reduce delays, increasing the capacity of its Compliance and Enforcement Unit to allow for earlier interventions.