About 500 residents renting units from the Whistler Housing Authority will not see their rents go up this year.
The WHA board unanimously decided to freeze all rents for 2005 at a March 10 monthly meeting.
"I am pleased to announce this step, which will further assist our resident employees in meeting the affordability challenge," said WHA Board Chair and Councillor Nick Davies. "The solid financial position of the WHA enables us to take this step."
This decision goes against policy, which normally sees the WHA increase its rents two per cent every year to match inflation, upon the renewal of each lease.
"I think the feeling is that the last few years in Whistler we haven't been building business so certainly on the revenue side we havent had inflation and, as a result, people are challenged," explained WHA General Manager Tim Wake.
"The reason the board's doing it is they're very sensitive to affordability and the housing authority financially is in a solid position."
The WHA has 164 units in its rental inventory and the rents in those units vary, depending on when they were built and when the leases were renewed.
Generally, a one bedroom in Beaver Flats is $935/month and a one bedroom in Lorimer Court is $780/month. Likewise a two bedroom unit in Lorimer Court is $1,330 and a two bedroom unit in Nesters is $1,200.
Kat Phillips lives in a two bedroom unit in Nesters and pays $1,180 a month with her boyfriend. Every month they also pay $60 each for parking spaces in the building.
At $1,300 Phillips said the rent freeze is a good thing for renters like her.
The rents will be frozen effective April 1, 2005.