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B.C. launches $500-million fund to preserve rental unit supply

Renters in B.C. are getting some support as non-profits now have better resources to preserve access to affordable units.

B.C. government officials said the new $500-million Rental Protection Fund is aimed at keeping buildings in the hands of local housing organizations.

“We’re taking action to protect renters who found an affordable place to live, but are worried their building will be bought out from underneath them,” said Premier David Eby. 

“This fund will allow non-profits to secure older rental buildings and protect vulnerable renters from speculators who can drive up rents and evict tenants who have lived there for years.”

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According to B.C. Government officials, this fund comes as older rental buildings across the province and Canada as a whole are being purchased by speculators and large corporations.

This allows investors to redevelop properties to hike up rent or sell at a profit.

The consequence leaves existing tenants displaced and takes rental properties off the market.

“For too long, this housing crisis has worked for the benefit of speculators and investors instead of people looking for a place to live,” said Eby. “In too many cases, this model leads to evictions, rent hikes and can lead to homelessness.”

The B.C. government said this new fund will give one-time grants to non-profit housing organizations to buy affordable residential rental buildings and ownership co-operatives.

This will keep renters from being evicted and helps retain existing units.

Officials said non-profit organizations will have support in getting private financing, so income brought in by existing tenants will sustain them. It will also reduce the financial involvement of the provincial government.

The Housing Protection Fund Society, an entity external to the provincial government, will manage this new funding stream.

The money will become available in the coming months.

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