The City of Vancouver, using its assumed power to grant business licences, enacted three municipal rent control bylaws on December 8, 2021 to prevent landlords from increasing rent between tenancies in single residential accommodation properties.

The business bylaws, included By-Law No. 13182: A By-Law to amend License By-Law No. 4450 Regarding Vacancy Control.

Two landlords challenged these bylaws as double regulation, questioning whether the city had the authority to prohibit rent increases since the province already regulates rent increases through the Residential Tenancy Act.

The BC Supreme Court agreed in 2022, finding the bylaws were beyond the powers of the city as outlined in section 272 of the Vancouver Charter, and therefore invalid; and quashed the bylaws.

The City of Vancouver appealed this decision to the BC Court of Appeal. In February, this court dismissed the city’s petition, agreeing with the lower court that this was a second layer of legislation, already regulated by the province.

“This decision ensures that business bylaws cannot be used to impose multiple layers of regulation on businesses that would ultimately affect how they operate and run in our market economy,” according to Vancouver law firm Lawson Lundell.

“It protects the rights of landlords operating in the City of Vancouver from municipal attempts to impose further rent restrictions on them, additional to the Residential Tenancy Act,” Lawson Lundell said.