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‘I blame the government’: P.E.I. seniors to see rent hikes of up to 34 per cent after losing IRAC appeal



WELLINGTON, P.E.I. — Rents are going up between 30 and 34 per cent for a gaggle of seniors in Wellington, P.E.I. 

The rise follows an Island Regulatory and Appeals Fee ruling in opposition to their enchantment difficult the will increase.

The lease hikes will happen regardless of the passage of a fall 2022 regulation within the P.E.I. legislature that set rental fee will increase for the 12 months 2023 to zero per cent.

The six Wellington tenants are amongst tons of of others in P.E.I. who’ve been confronted with lease will increase of varied quantities this 12 months regardless of the regulation, as many landlords, who face elevated prices for gas, insurance coverage and better mortgage charges have opted to use to IRAC for larger than allowable lease will increase. 

The Wellington tenants, who reside on Mount Carmel Highway, paid rents starting from $760 to $889 per thirty days. The will increase will imply rents will rise to between $1,028 to $1,157 per thirty days.  

J. Earle Arsenault was one of many six tenants who appealed the lease will increase. He locations the blame for the will increase on the provincial authorities of Premier Dennis King. 

King’s authorities handed a regulation final fall that appeared to freeze rental charges for 2023 however allowed for landlords to use to the fee for increased will increase with no most degree. 

“They might have performed one thing,” Arsenault stated of the provincial authorities. “A few of these folks might have seen the loophole there was in that Act earlier than. However they simply let it go and (did not) change that.” 

J. Earle Arsenault, a tenant living in Wellington, is facing an almost 35 per cent increase in his rent starting April 1. The increase comes after the legislature passed a bill that was supposed to reduce rent increases for tenants to zero per cent in 2023. - Stu Neatby/SaltWire file
J. Earle Arsenault, a tenant residing in Wellington, is going through an nearly 35 per cent enhance in his lease beginning April 1. The rise comes after the legislature handed a invoice that was supposed to scale back lease will increase for tenants to zero per cent in 2023. – Stu Neatby/SaltWire file

The June 16 order by IRAC dismissed the enchantment of the Wellington tenants who had challenged the lease will increase.  

“With out the rise, the Landlord faces a damaging return on funding,” the Fee’s order said. 

“A damaging return on funding will not be sustainable as it could discourage continued funding in residential rental housing and additional exacerbate the housing disaster on Prince Edward Island.” 

In previous rulings, the fee has stated the province’s tenancy regulation requires it to find out if will increase are wanted to make sure landlords don’t maintain monetary losses however doesn’t permit consideration of economic hardship of tenants.  


Adjustments to laws

The Wellington lease will increase occurred as a direct results of each rising prices and varied maneuvers within the legislature final fall by the King authorities. 

In September of 2022, IRAC issued an order that allowed for lease will increase of 5.2 per cent for unheated flats and 10.8 per cent for heated flats for the 12 months 2023.  

The fee cited rising gas, electrical energy, property tax and upkeep prices as causes for the will increase, which had been increased than these granted in earlier years.  

This order was struck down by a invoice launched by then-housing minister Matthew MacKay, which additionally set rental fee will increase to zero per cent for 2023.  

Social Development and Housing Minister Matthew MacKay introduced legislation on Nov. 1, 2022, that would nullify an order by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) that would allow rent increases in 2023. - Stu Neatby/SaltWire file
Social Improvement and Housing Minister Matthew MacKay launched laws on Nov. 1, 2022, that might nullify an order by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Fee (IRAC) that might permit lease will increase in 2023. – Stu Neatby/SaltWire file

MacKay’s invoice, which didn’t place a most quantity limiting larger than allowable lease will increase, handed within the legislature final December.  

Mackay later informed SaltWire the greater-than-allowable lease enhance had been intentionally left open for landlords that had been shedding cash. A program permitting property tax breaks for landlords was additionally later introduced.  

Final fall, the legislature additionally handed a revamp of tenancy regulation within the province, which positioned a 3 per cent most restrict on larger than allowable lease will increase. The earlier laws, the Rental of Residential Property Act, positioned no most on larger than allowable lease will increase. 

Regardless of this, the brand new Act was not enacted till April 2023, after the PCs had been re-elected. As such, the enchantment of the Wellington tenants was adjudicated beneath the previous act. 

In its June 16 ruling, IRAC’s commissioners famous the tenants “expressed frustration” with the King authorities’s choice to overrule IRAC’s preliminary order final fall. 

“The Tenants expressed that they may afford a 5.2 per cent enhance however not a 30 per cent to 34 per cent enhance.  Within the phrases of 1 Tenant: ‘5.2 per cent was nice, 30 per cent or 34 per cent will not be OK, I felt thrown beneath the bus. I blame the federal government,’” the ruling said. 

In an interview, Arsenault took particular difficulty with statements made to SaltWire by King.  

When requested about Arsenault’s state of affairs throughout an election marketing campaign occasion on March 28, King referred to as the will increase “mistaken” and stated it was “not going to face.” 

“You lied to me. That is all I might say,” Arsenault stated, referring to King’s assertion. “They’re liable for making the Act, governing rents.”

Stu Neatby is a political reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He may be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @stu_neatby.

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