The word ‘landlord’ is too negative, one B.C. councillor says

Coun. Dave Loewen says term should be replaced by ‘rental housing provider’ in new housing strategy

The word “landlord” has developed a “negative connotation” and should be ditched in favour of another term, an Abbotsford councillor said Monday.

As Abbotsford’s politicians discussed a new affordable housing strategy, Coun. Dave Loewen said he had heard from one person who didn’t like being called a landlord.

“The gentleman I met for this morning, he refers to himself and others like him as ‘rental housing providers,’” Loewen recounted. “He said that the term ‘landlord’ is going out of use.”

Loewen said he agreed with the man about the word’s perception.

“It has a negative connotation I think. If we use a term like landlord, it connotes something that is confrontational, at least in my mind.”

RELATED: Canadian rental vacancy rates last year hit lowest since 2002 after third year of decline

Loewen pointed to groups that have been working to alleviate the region’s rental housing crisis. (New figures show Abbotsford’s rental vacancy rate is only slightly above one per cent.)

“These people, these organizations that are trying to work with us, are solution providers and so I think the terminology of rental housing provider would be a more appropriate one.

Loewen suggested staff adjust the terminology in the final affordable housing strategy document.

To remove the word from common use, though, will take more than the natural evolution of language: “landlord” is a legal term defined within British Columbia’s Residential Tenancy Act.

Watch abbynews.com and Friday’s paper for more on the city’s proposed affordable housing strategy and new figures on the local rental vacancy rate.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


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