For over a year, rent increases and renovictions have been hot topics, often in the news and on the tip of many tongues at Tim Horton’s. Everyone knows about the chaos created by increased property sales and an influx of out-of-province purchasers and investors. We also know that the government has been slow and ineffective in acting.
However, the overall failure of our Residential Tenancies Act and the Office of the Rentalsman in protecting tenants in NB is less talked about.
Multiple provinces in Canada have rent controls determining the maximum rent increase that can be imposed per 12-month period; however, NB believes that it is the only place in Canada where rent control would halt development. BC, AB, SK, ON, PQ, NS, and YT have all proven this not to be the case, but hey, what do they know?
Our Office of the Rentalsman has long proven to be slow and ineffective and weighted heavily in favor of landlords, with little recourse for tenants subjected to unfair treatment and unsafe environments.
The People’s Alliance believes that we must do better, and we would:
• Implement Rent Control to prohibit increases during a tenancy beyond a reasonable, predetermined amount without an application for exception with reason. This amount should be tied to inflation to protect tenants from excessive increases while being fair to property owners.
• Revamp the Office of the Rentalsman with new mandates, friendlier processes, and timelier resolutions.
• Ensure the safety and well-being of tenants by regulating the ability of the Rentalsman to step in and collect rent to repair facilities or services where attempts to resolve with a landlord have been unsuccessful.
• Ensure the inspection within a prompt manner of premises where there is a dispute between a landlord and a tenant about safety/condition.
• Create and empower a tribunal for hearing disputes, appealing eviction notices, and ordering deciding fair resolution.
• Although it is illegal to discriminate against any protected status, property owners continue prohibiting children in many rental units. Family status must be one of several banned questions landlords cannot ask of potential tenants unless in an over 55 building or a shared residence.
• Ensure that general maintenance expectations include reasonable refreshing, such as repainting during a long-term tenancy.
• Implement an appeals process for evictions outside of non-payment, destruction of property, or illegal activity.
• Ensure tenants are protected and housing is secure during appeals until a determination is made.
While some of these regulations are technically in place, oversight and enforcement must be more consistent and reliable.
NB citizens deserve to have housing security. We would make sure they have it.