As the opening of the new Legislative session approaches, the Official Opposition is preparing to table a bill that would put a limit on rent increases in the province. The rising cost of rent and the lack of Legislation on rent control has quickly become a serious issue in New Brunswick with people reporting increases of up to 60 % as the vacancy rate continues to drop.
“Finding a reasonably priced apartment is becoming an increasingly impossible task for many New Brunswickers,” says the Official Opposition critic for Social Development, Robert Gauvin. “During the upcoming session of the Legislative Assembly, I will be tabling a bill to amend the Residential Tenancies Act to effectively put a cap on how much a landlord can increase the price of rent each year.”
The bill, that will be revealed in its entirety when it is tabled in the Legislature, would tie the percentage by which a landlord is allowed to increase rent to the Consumer Price index each year. This means the amount of any rent increase between January 1 and December 31 of any year would not be able to exceed the percentage change from year to year in the Consumer Price Index for New Brunswick for prices of goods and services as reported monthly by Statistics Canada., The bill also proposes that no rent increase shall exceed 2.5 percent in any calendar year.
“Other jurisdictions like Ontario, Quebec and PEI have Acts that protect renters from unreasonable rent increases,” says the MLA for Shediac Bay-Dieppe. “We aren’t reinventing the wheel here, it’s something that works well in other provinces and should work well in New Brunswick.”
While putting a cap on rent hikes will provide some stability for renters, Gauvin says there is still much more that needs to be done to increase affordable housing in the province. “I hope this bill passes with support from all parties so we can provide this protection and peace of mind for New Brunswickers, but I know it won’t solve all the problems associated with a lack of affordable housing. The Higgs government needs to partner with the federal government and invest in the creation of additional affordable housing units in the province.”