In the wake of steep rent increases experienced by many in New Brunswick this year, David Coon, Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick and MLA for Fredericton South, introduced an Act to Amend the Residential Tenancies Act on November 20, 2020.
If passed, this bill would establish an annual rent increase cap, ensure that rent can only be increased once a year for a tenant, and install a rent freeze for the first year of tenancy.
Currently, in New Brunswick, there is no limit to how much or how often a landlord can increase rent, as long as they provide tenants with three months notice. “Four provinces, including PEI, have rent control to protect tenants from large increases, while New Brunswick is the only province that allows landlords to raise rent multiple times a year,” said Coon. “We need to ensure that tenants who cannot afford large increases in their rent are not left out in the cold without housing this winter.”
In a November press release, Coon stated that tenants in New Brunswick have the fewest protections in all of Canada, noting that New Brunswick is the only province that allows landlords to hike rent multiple times per year.
“Housing is a human right. Large, unjustifiable increases in rent will have negative consequences such as increasing homelessness and deepening poverty.”– Megan Mitton, the Green critic for Service New Brunswick and MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar
These New Brunswick rent hikes may be exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, but this issue is not new to the province. In 2018, the New Brunswick Greens attempted to forward a bill to strengthen legal housing protections, however, their efforts were thwarted by the relentless lobbying of several rental property developers.
Since Coon has introduced the bill, it has passed first reading. However, the obstacles will begin with the second reading and committee debates. The Green Party’s 2018 bill to protect tenants’ rights did not make it past first reading after landlords voiced their opposition to the government.
See previous article on David Coon’s demand for legislation that protects New Brunswickers against unjustifiable rent increases: https://globalgreen.news/new-brunswick-greens-demand-rent-controls-as-protection-against-unreasonable-rent-increases/