Politicians aren’t exactly known for having intestinal fortitude when it comes to a backlash by taxpayers.
That’s why many float ideas in public first to see just how angry some people will get over changes in policy.
The City of Burnaby did not float the idea of the fees for its new home rental licence before it was announced.
It did not go over well with local landlords.
The NOW received a few letters expressing hysteria over the fees and the need to fill out a declaration form.
And in no-time flat, council turtled – F1 drivers don’t move this fast.
Some might call it listening to the people, which I guess is admirable. Perhaps if the city did a better job of rolling it out, this wouldn’t have happened.
All I know is I think council should have stuck to its plan. Also, landlords need to stop whining about the issue.
The city originally planned to charge homeowners a $570 annual fee, plus $50 application fee if they rent out their home without living there.
The fee was first created last year to replace a utility surcharge for homeowners with secondary suites. It was set to extend next year to all homeowners who do not live in a home they rent out.
Those renting out a home that they do not reside in will need to purchase a House Rental Licence for $130 annually. The planned $50 application fee has been eliminated.
That’s a steep drop.
So, great, landlords who have seen their equity grow by hundreds of thousands of dollars as the affordability crisis worsened get a break from the city.
I’m so happy for them.
Seriously, the letters to the editor from landlords were really something.
One called it “class warfare” and complained about having to sign a declaration form. OMG – paperwork – the horror!
A general theme was that a measly $570 a year would somehow create hardship for landlords who own million-dollar houses and force them to not rent them out.
It’s an insult to renters who are struggling to survive to hear complaints from certain landlords who own a second house that they can rent out.
And some are still complaining on social media that they have to pay any fee at all.
Look, you won, take the reduction and move on.
With additional reporting by Kelvin Gawley
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44