‘Unreasonable’ Rent Increase Overturned by Judge

JEFF HODSON
METRO VANCOUVER

A landlord has been ordered to refund tenants of a West End apartment after a B.C. Supreme Court judge overturned an almost 40 per cent rent increase.

Madam Justice Linda Loo set aside an April 2009 decision by a residential tenancy officer (RTO) that had increased rents at the Seafield Apartments by as much a $500 a month.

The landlord had applied for the increase under a clause in the Residential Tenancy Act that allows a rent adjustment if the rate is significantly lower than comparable units in the same area.

Loo ruled that portions of the RTO’s decision were “patently unreasonable” because they were based on too few comparable units and also failed to consider submissions from affected tenants.

Under the RTO’s decision in April, tenants of seven two-bedroom suites, which had been rented for $1,325 to $1,450 a month, would see their monthly rent hiked (in three phases) to $1,833 a month.

A pair of one-bedroom suites were to increase to $1,225 a month, up from $1,067 and $1,068 a month.

Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Herbert called the judge’s decision a victory for renters in B.C. The original RTO decision, he added, had effectively ended B.C.’s moderate rent control that limits annual rent increases to two per cent above the rate of inflation.

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