System needs to be fixed

Re. ‘Ghost hotels’ hurt renters (Castanet, Sept. 25)

(The article contains) interesting statistics regarding the impact of short-term rentals on the overall rental market. I was ignorant to this apparent fact.

However, the thrust of the article is to suggest that again, municipalities and cities crack down even harder on property owners who choose to use their property in ways that best serve them. That seems heavy handed.

All of the work that goes into finding statistics to support their contentions do nothing to address what may be the bigger problem—the (provincial) Rental Tenancy Act, as it exists today.

Over the past decade or so, maybe longer, the pendulum has swung from pro-landlord to very pro-renter and that has resulted in, to some degree, fewer and fewer properties being put up for rent.

At one time, you could have stated with reasonable conviction the incidents of tenants who damage property or who simply stop paying rent, were few. I don't think that's the case anymore.

If you were to ask a sampling of property owners who have offered up their secondary homes for rent and what their experience was, I suggest you might hear some very similar stories about problem tenants.

The Residential Tenancy Branch is no comfort. This agency was created as an arbiter to protect both parties in a rental agreement. That is not how it works.

Having personally been put in the position where I had to look to it for relief, I can tell you that it simply doesn't work.

I was immersed in the process for months with no rental income. In fact, my tenants left my home (thankfully) on their own at 1 a.m., leaving behind a mess and furniture that even they thought was beneath them. But I had my house back.

There is seemingly no concern for property owners, (who are looked at as pariahs because they have a rental property), when tenants abuse the home or stop paying rent because of "hard times" or (other reasons).

If the RTB was able to do what it is mandated to do and deliver resolution in a timely and expeditious manner, I believe more people would be inclined to put their properties back into the rental pool.

It is unreasonable to use staffing issues as an excuse for lag times of months upon months.

Maybe the provincial or federal governments should implement a relief fund for landlords while their cases wait to be heard once their turn comes up in the endless queue.

It was for the above reasons, including the lack of assistance from the RTB and the pain caused by my tenants, that I chose to sell. That was not my plan but I didn't feel as though there were any other options.

So, maybe if the problems with the RTB were addressed and corrected and the power balance between tenants and landlords balanced out, you would see more homes hit the rental market.

To spend time trying to figure out how to clamp down on people who simply wish to use their investment (through services such as) ABNB or VRBO because of the risks associated with long-term rentals and the lack of a working process, is counterproductive and looks to punish or repress people because of it.

The problem is glaring. So fix it.

Peter Haslock, West Kelowna

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