Our operational cost on our lease at the studio has gone up by more than $3000 per month (more than 400%) in the less than three years we’ve been here, largely because of property value and tax adjustment.
Over the course of our now three operational cost increases, prices for everything have gone up up up, while maintenance has steeply declined.
We’re so focused on the housing crisis (which I understand) that the unfairnesses of commercial leasing are passing by with minimal attention. As commercial tenants, we’re paying the speculative future value of a building we don’t own and will never profit from, and it’s fucking wrong.
Did you know there’s no municipal option for dispute resolution with commercial landlords? And there is no action based accountability – what that means is that if your landlord fails to provide service, even as detailed in your lease, you must take them to small claims court, and the only outcome can be a dollar amount. So for example, if your communal areas are not kept to a reasonable standard, or the front door of your building is broken, or garbage is not removed frequently enough, there’s no recourse – you cannot sue for action, only money.
As the workforce transitions away from traditional employment and towards small business ownership and entrepreneurship, we need to start fighting for rights for small businesses. And it’s up to us to mobilize and lobby. We got the Residential Tenancy Branch as a result of lots of hard work and organizing. And how to we allot the time for that, when we’re on this hamster wheel of increases?
Fundamentally, my rent increase each year is where the potential for me to earn a living wage goes. And I’m pretty tired of it.