Why the Residential Tenancy Branch in B.C. is failing us

Here is a great post about the shortcomings of the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) by Kendra Milne. She talks about the lack of enforcement of the RTB when it comes to legal disputes between tenants and landlords. Have a look below.

Safe and secure housing is a cornerstone of overall health and well-being. The housing affordability crisis in BC is common knowledge, but less well known is the fact that the lack of enforcement of tenancy laws threatens the safety and security of rental housing across the province.

Roughly one third of British Columbians live in rental housing. They depend on BC’s tenancy laws to ensure that their rental housing is safe and reasonably well maintained, that they are not subject to continual increases in their rent, and that they have a degree of security because their tenancy can only be ended for specific reasons. Landlords also depend on the laws to protect their livelihood and property.

However, these legal safeguards quickly become meaningless without an effective way to enforce the protections contained in the laws. Individuals may find they have no effective recourse when their rights are violated. More broadly, if it becomes common knowledge that there is no consequence for breaching the law, there is no incentive to comply. Respect for the content of the law is undermined.

In British Columbia, the Residential Tenancy Branch is charged with enforcing our provincial tenancy laws. It has the power to decide individual legal disputes between tenants and landlords, and to deter repeated violations of the law through its investigatory and penalty powers.

Unfortunately, as a recent study has found, due to chronic and drastic underfunding, the Branch is unwilling or unable to make effective use of these powers. With a budget per case that is a mere 10 to 20% of comparable tribunals (such as the Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal and the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal), the Branch faces serious hurdles in accomplishing its purpose.

For the full article, visit the CCPA website.

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