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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 4, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta The Lethbrtdge Herald Fifth Section Lethbridge, Alberta, Wednesday, December 4, 1974 Pages 45-52 B.C. government caught in the middle Landlord-tenant battle rages VICTORIA (CP) An effort to protect tenants in- British Columbia from the ravages of inflation has left the provincial government dodging brickbats from both tenants and landlords. The landlords have resorted to a form of strike action to protest the New Democratic government's rent controls and the tenants are complaining that the rent increase ceilings are too high. As a result of the rent controls, a simmering dis- pute between landlords and tenants on the subject of rents has erupted into a full scale battle with the government acting as referee. "It places me in "the middle, like the net in a a badminton says Attorney General Alex MacDonald, who is respon- sible for the landlord and tenant legislation. The government began to wrestle with the problem of rents in March of this year when it brought in legislation limiting all rent increases in the province to eight per cent above the last rent paid in 1973. STOP GOUGING At that time, Mr. MacDonald said the rent ceilings were imposed to stop gouging by some ren- tal accommodation owners and he added "we do not in-. tend to rent control on the province of B.C." However, Nov. 4, early in the fall session of the legislature, the govern- ment reaffirmed its belief in controls as an inflation fighting device when it brought in legislation replacing the eight per cent ceiling with a 10.6 per cent limit. There were a few wrinkles added, one being that new accommodations would be free of any rent limits for the first five years in order to encourage the construction of rental units and there were cer- tain allowances for major renovations. COMMISSION SET The government also moved to establish a rent review commission with the power to advise the government on rent ceilings and hear appeals or rent regulations from landlords and tenants. The new government moves triggered an im- mediate angry response from landlords, who said the rent controls were un- realistic in relation to the inflated costs of operating rental accommodation. The B.C. Rental Housing Council, representing landlords, threatened strike action and last week carried out that threat by stating that vacant suites would be withheld from the already tight housing market. A spokesman for the council said some in- dividual apartment owners also have decided to delay payments on their B.C. Hydro bills for the apart- ment buildings. The council told the government it wanted the 10.6 per cent rent hike to be a minimum, not a max- imum, for 1975. The landlords proposed that they be allowed to set an increase above the 10.6 per cent and if tenants ob- jected, the landlords would have to justify the increase to a provincial rent review authority. The landlords backed up their arguments with statistics contained in a report prepared for the government by Dr. John Cragg, economics professor at the University of B.C. The Cragg report was tabled in the legislature during the fall session and it stated that a 30 per cent rent increase ceiling would be needed to fully offset costs to landlords, but that a 21 per cent increase would be suf- ficient to prevent gouging and provide some en- couragement for the construction of new rental accommodation. Dr. Cragg said in the last two years there has been an estimated increase of 40 per cent in the cost of providing rental accom- modation. However, Mr. MacDonald said he disagreed with Dr. Cragg's report because he said he had taken current inflationary values of land, interest rates and construction costs and applied them to the old stock of residential premises. During debate on the rent control legislation in the legislature, opposition members pressed the point that such controls only serve to cut down on the supply of rental accom- modations. The government was asked why it decided to control one sector of the economy, namely rents, while the cost of other goods is allowed to rise. The B.C. Tenants Organization complained that rents already were too high and maintained the 10.6 per cent increase in rents next year will be a crushing economic blow to tens of thousands of renters. The BCTO wants a B.C. rental housing authority to be set up to hold public hearings on rents and set all rents on new premises built in the province. It also wants tenants to be given the right to form associations and councils to bargain with landlords over rent and conditions and to help in law en- forcement. In the meantime there seems to be confusion sur- rounding the details of. the new rent control legislation. Many tenants have been receiving rent increase notices, some for more than 10.6 per cent and others due to come into effect before the three month notice period has expired. NOTICE WAIVED Mr. MacDonald made it clear when he brought in the latest rent legislation that the usual three-month written notice requirement for rent increases would be waived as long as an increase notice was receiv- ed on or before Nov. 30. Therefore, if a landlord gave notice of a 10.6 per cent increase in a tenant's rent on or before that date, it could come into effect Jan. 1, 1975, when the new rent limit becomes effec- tive. The COOKER that takes the bird, the meat by HOOVER not just a slow cooker, but a genuine ALL PURPOSE COOKER With Removable Porcelain Cooking-Well rteK-er fasted chicken, stews, meats until you've eaten them prepared in the "POT LUCK" m m luscious! Features you'll like... Big...6-Quart Capacity Famous Oval Shape...Better Heat Distribution and Retention Removable Porcelain Cook-Well Holds Up To 8 Lb. Roast or Large Fowl, is Dishwasher Safe It Cooks, It Bakes, It Roasts Slow Cook On Two Settings With "Locked-ln" or Leave On All Day Fast Cook With Automatic Thermostatically Con- trolled Heat No Oven Bags Needed...The Lid Is Self-Basting Lightweight Bright Aluminum Lid Has Large Knob With Finger-Guard Porcelain Enamel Interior Cleans Easily Baked Enamel Exterior Wipes Clean Carrying Handles For Portability...Cook Serve Right At The Table Rack Detachable Power Cord Recipe Book Quality and Added Safety Result From Special Insulations, Superior Temperature Control With Signal Light, Excellent Quality Control, etc., etc. Introducing Tha ci rnnircD V Introductory Offer Be sure to attend the Thursday, December 5th You always do better at... 49 95 In-Store Demonstrations from 1 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. DOWNTGi 606-608 3rd Ave. S. Call Kc-'cewares Phone 327-5767 gum! Tyrral Prashker's bub- ble-blowing effort was off form from the beginning during competition in aid of charity in Toronto. However, she managed to extend the gum to cross-eyed dimensions before the sudden finale that left her nose deep in a sticky patch of gum. Allmand to check probe of MP OTTAWA (CP) Solicitor- General Warren Allmand has promised to look into the basis of a 1973 RCMP investigation of Conservative MP Jack Ellis. He said in the Commons he does not know who ordered the investigation or why Mr. Ellis was not told of inquiries about his possession of a con- fidential Unemployment In- surance Commission (UIC) document. Referring to a statement last Wednesday by Mr. Allmand, Mr. Ellis (Hastings) said it-seems absurd that the matter could have been con- sidered an offence under the Official Secrets Act. He was confident the investigation was ordered by the cabinet, not the RCMP. Mr. Allmand said last week the investigation, which found Mr. Ellis had not committed an offence, came after an allegation that possession of the document "could have constituted an offence under the Official Secrets Act." All that the document might have shown is "evidence of monumentally-inept bungling by the Mr. Ellis said. DRILLING BANNED Offshore drilling in the Beaufort Sea will not be per- mitted until the summer of 1976. This will allow en- vironmental studies funded by member companies of the Arctic Petroleum Operators' Association. t V .-_. ju-. S 3 Big Days of Savings on Including 100% wools and Polyester-wool blends, regulars and tails in a complete size range. Regular CHRISTMAS SPECIAL WESTERN SPORT COATS These garments are all taken from our regular fine stock. CHARGEX charge Regular tos90 CHRISTMAS SPECIAL If it's NEW and it's WESTERN... you'll find it FIRST at Open Thurs. until p.m. ALTERATIONS EXTRA PLEASE 308 5th Street South Phone 329-4566 ;