Housing & homelessness

The BC economy’s unbalanced and inequitable growth

Jul 22, 2016
Skyrocketing property transfer tax revenues have been in the news the past few days, but the bigger story, well-documented in a recent Huffington Post article, is how dependent the entire BC economy is on the unsustainable and socially damaging housing market. It is instructive to reread the 2012 BC Jobs Plan to see how far… View Article

Affordable housing and its discontents

May 19, 2016
The public and media response to my new study on affordable housing  exceeded expectations. I anticipated some really strong pushback against my proposals, because they’re pretty radical in today’s context where private sector development is taken for granted, and global capital flows into local real estate go largely unquestioned. By and large, the report was covered… View Article

Housing budget? Not so much.

Feb 17, 2016
It was supposed to be the housing budget, with action to address a top issue facing the province. Today’s banner headline from The Globe and Mail (“Balanced BC budget aims to cool hot real estate market”) implies that they did take concrete measures. But if you read the budget, there is not much there relative… View Article

Density, condos and housing affordability

Oct 16, 2014
How is it that we have seen a non-stop construction boom in Vancouver over the past decade-plus and yet we still have huge homelessness and affordable housing problems? In the Figure, based on data from the BC Economic Accounts, it’s pretty clear that as a society we spend a lot building new housing. It varies cyclically but over the… View Article

An inadequate appeal process for tenants means a bumpy ride for everyone

Jan 24, 2013
(Co-authored by Kendra Milne and Jess Hadley, staff lawyers at the Community Legal Assistance Society) Earlier this week, we read with interest Kathy Tomlinson’s January 21st CBC Go Public story, “Landlords ‘powerless’ as tenants get free ride”, which investigates one family of tenants who have apparently taken advantage of several successive landlords.  In her article,… View Article

Imbalance in residential tenancy rights enforcement in BC

Oct 25, 2012
Yesterday some media outlets reported that the Residential Tenancy Branch has conditionally waived the first (and to my knowledge only) administrative penalty it has issued. BC’s Residential Tenancy Act was amended in 2006 to allow the Branch to issue administrative penalties, essentially monetary fines, against landlords or tenants that contravene the Act or repeatedly ignore… View Article