A few years ago a much-loved advertising campaign garnered attention around the globe: British Columbia, the best place on earth. Like many BCers, I believe this to be true; we are fortunate to live here. However, despite its climate and beauty, for many, our province has become a difficult place to secure housing. Over the past few years we’ve looked carefully at how LandlordBC could make the biggest difference in the rental industry and we came up with the Landlord Registry.
Although our mandate is to support Landlords throughout the province, we came to develop the registry out of a desire help renters. Tenants are our customers and we want them to be happy. If we look at the market today we have a shortage of rental housing throughout the province, from Prince George to Kelowna to Victoria and Vancouver. We house 30% of British Columbians and we are concerned about the lack of supply and the fact that tenants can find themselves in less than desirable circumstances with uninformed landlords. This registry gives renters a tool to see if the person they are renting from has credibility and knowledge.
Our mandate is to professionalize the rental industry. There are myriad smaller landlords out there who operate with one suite in their home or have invested in a rental property. Since they are disproportionately represented we concluded that we needed to target the landlords themselves.
Our research shows that too many of them don’t treat their rental property like a business and they lack knowledge of the Residential Tenancy Act. This leaves them open to having a tenant take legal action against them which costs money and time. A membership and registration with us is like an insurance policy.
Here’s how it works
Landlords throughout the province complete a two-hour online course (it is not necessary to do it all in one sitting). The course familiarizes landlords with the Residential Tenancy Act – the basics that every landlord needs to know. Following the course work, landlords complete a test and once they achieve an 80% grade they are registered and receive an ‘I Rent It Right’ certificate. Registered landlords will be part of a database renters can search when they are looking for a landlord. For landlords, the certification is a marketing tool – recognition of competency. It is also a tool that they can use as an ongoing resource to help answer questions and settle disputes.
We recognize the registry is just one step in supporting British Columbians in their housing search, but we believe it is a step in the right direction. The Landlord Registry launches on January 18th, if you are landlord, sign up! If you are a tenant, please use it to support your decision-making process about your next home. If you are a supporter of fair renting practices in BC, please help us share the news of the registry with your friends and family.
By David Hutniak