It could be seen as worrying news for New Brunswick renters after the province’s minister responsible for housing confirmed Thursday its current rent cap won’t be extending into the new year.
The measure aimed to support tenants and ensure they benefit from the proposed property tax measures. It was retroactive to January of this year and is set to expire on Dec. 31.
Service New Brunswick Minister Jill Green told reporters in Fredericton that a renewed rent cap is off the table and was only a “temporary measure.”
She said rent caps have been shown not to have the desired effect.
“If you look at any article by an economist, they say rent caps don’t work,” said Green. “We need development, so we need a laser-focused approach.”
In place of the rent cap, Green introduced new legislation aimed at further supporting tenants.
Amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act are intended to help tenants adjust to new market conditions in 2023 and give them more time to seek help from the Residential Tenancies Tribunal.
This includes extending the application period for a rent increase review to 60 days and the Tribunal would be able to phase in approved rent increases over three years if they exceed inflation.
There are also new eviction protections that can only see tenancies terminated for one of four reasons.
- A relative will become an occupant of the unit
- Extensive renovations will be undertaken requiring the unit to be vacant
- An employment contract to maintain the building has ended
- The unit will be used for reasons other than a residential premise
Tenants facing losses due to eviction without just cause can apply for compensation from the landlord.
Other protections include limiting a rent increase to once every year, requiring six months’ notice to increase rents and authorizing the tribunal to review and deny unreasonable rent increases.
“If we find that without the cap in place that tenants are having problems or are becoming vulnerable, we will put programs in place to help them,” said Green.