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Rent cap will expire this year, no extension, minister says

by News Desk
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New Brunswick has not extended the rent cap it introduced earlier this year to protect tenants from skyrocketing rents.

The cap that prevented rent growth of more than 3.8% expires on 31 December.

An amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act was introduced on Thursday and will not extend the cap, but will link certain increases in rent to the consumer price index if challenged by tenants.

Jill Greene, New Brunswick’s minister for housing and services, said the bill still protects tenants but won’t deter developers.

supporters support caps

Advocates of affordable housing have called for the rent cap to be extended since it was announced, saying tenants would not be protected without it.

Before the rent cap was introduced, tenants statewide reported receiving notices of rent increases. 55%A Statistics Canada report released in April 2021 found that rents are rising in New Brunswick. was the largest in Canada From March 2020 to March 2021.

Green Party leader David Kuhn said on Thursday that removing the rent cap would hurt people.

“We know that rent caps keep people housing,” he said. “And in the absence [a] Many people will lose their homes if they exceed the rent cap in this market. ”

The amendment will give the Housing Tenancy Tribunal the option to spread rent increases over two or three years if the increase exceeds the consumer price index. This index measures year-to-year changes in the cost of living and is currently showing a 6.9% increase.

This means that the rent spread option is only available to those whose rent has increased by 6.9% or more.

Landlords cannot impose another rent increase for the next two to three years, Green said.

She also said the state will monitor rent increases after the cap expires.

“I hope we won’t be inundated with changes, but if more changes occur, we will adapt accordingly. [of complaints] “More than usual,” she said.

With this amendment, the period for appealing a rent increase will be 60 days instead of 30 days.

And that would limit the reasons for an acceptable increase.

Tenants who have already received notice of a rent increase effective after January 1 of this year must review it within 60 days of the new rules coming into force, even if they received notice of the increase several months ago. Must apply.

These rules only apply when tenants complain about rent increases. The only way to contest a rent increase is to go to the Tenant Tribunal.

Kuhn said the new measures are no substitute for the rent cap.

“It’s not a restraint because the liability isn’t on the landlord,” he said. “The liability is on the tenant. And that’s the whole problem with this law.”

Reasons why rent increases for all units are not possible

Under current law, if someone files a court complaint about a rent increase, the landlord must ensure that the new rent is “reasonable” compared to other units in the same geographic area, or that all You must prove that the unit has received rent. Same increase.

The amendment removes all unit price increases as an acceptable reason, so even if all units in a building receive the same rent increase, landlords must prove that the new rent is reasonable. there is.

If the landlord can’t prove the rent increase is reasonable, the court can dismiss it.

But if the court grants an increase, the amendment adds two other possibilities. Courts may change the date on which the increase takes effect, or spread the increase over a period of time, so there won’t be much difference in rent from one month to the next. .

How the court can distribute rent increases is based on Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index.

If the rent increase is greater than the exponent but less than 2x, the rent increase can be spread over the two years.

If the rent increase is more than double the consumer price index, the rent increase is spread over 3 years and 1/3 of the increase is applied each year.

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