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P.E.I. government introduces bill to nullify 2023 rent increases

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The Premier Dennis King authorities has moved to dam lease will increase of as much as 10.8 per cent in 2023.

A invoice launched by Social Growth and Housing Minister Matthew MacKay would, if handed, nullify an order that may enable lease to extend by 5.2 per cent for unheated flats and by 10.8 per cent for flats heated by furnace oil as of January 2023.

That order was issued on Sept. 20 by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Fee. The order, which adopted a session with tenants and landlords, famous landlords have confronted rising prices because of escalating inflation and rising gasoline prices.

MacKay’s invoice set the utmost allowable lease enhance for 2023 at zero per cent.

Some tenants have already obtained discover from landlords that their lease will enhance on Jan. 1 by both 5.2 per cent or 10.8 per cent. If the invoice is handed, MacKay has mentioned he would rush the method to have it fast-tracked into legislation.

Chatting with reporters on the legislature on Nov. 1, MacKay mentioned IRAC’s proposed rental will increase may trigger vital hurt to tenants residing pay cheque to pay cheque. However he additionally mentioned he understood landlords are dealing with hardships because of document inflation.

“This might put a whole lot of individuals on the road,” MacKay mentioned. “We all know this isn’t the landlords’ fault. And we all know that they cannot bear these prices as effectively.”

Since final spring, prices of gasoline and different items have risen quicker in P.E.I. than another province.

The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission had set the maximum allowable annual rent increase for 2023 at 5.2 per cent for unheated units and 10.8 per cent for heated units.  - Contributed
The Island Regulatory and Appeals Fee had set the utmost allowable annual lease enhance for 2023 at 5.2 per cent for unheated models and 10.8 per cent for heated models. – Contributed

Applications promised for landlords

MacKay mentioned the province would offer some help to landlords however didn’t say exactly what this help will appear to be.

MacKay mentioned landlords have communicated to his division that they’re having issue with mortgage charges which might be anticipated to extend upon renewal and rising heating gasoline prices, in addition to the prices of insurance coverage and property taxes.

“We’re taking a look at all 4 of them – points that landlords have dropped at us to see what we will do on our finish,” MacKay mentioned.

MacKay mentioned the province is discussing a break on property taxes in addition to packages to assist landlords transition away from fossil fuels used for residence heating.

A group of protestors gathered at a rally against rental increases on Sept. 22, a day after the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission approved a record-high increase for rents in 2023. Another rally Oct. 8 attracted about 100 people. - Cody McEachern/SaltWire Network File Photo
A gaggle of protestors gathered at a rally in opposition to rental will increase on Sept. 22, a day after the Island Regulatory and Appeals Fee authorized a record-high enhance for rents in 2023. One other rally Oct. 8 attracted about 100 folks. – Cody McEachern/SaltWire Community File Photograph

‘No concern’ from IRAC

In an electronic mail assertion, Jaclynne Hamel, communications advisor with IRAC, mentioned the fee had “no concern” with MacKay’s invoice.

“The fee’s position is to comply with the provisions of current laws and laws, whereas the federal government of Prince Edward Island is liable for coverage selections,” Hamel wrote. “The fee, as all the time, will make selections throughout the parameters of the laws and laws which might be inside its jurisdiction.”

Related laws

MacKay’s invoice obtained unanimous consent from each the Opposition Inexperienced and Liberal events, permitting it to proceed to debate within the legislature on Nov. 1, the opening day of the autumn sitting. 

The Inexperienced Opposition had introduced it will be introducing an analogous invoice previous to the sitting. However the Greens had proposed limiting lease will increase to zero per cent for unheated and one per cent for heated.

The Inexperienced Opposition has additionally been crucial of the truth that the King authorities has but to introduce reform of the province’s ageing tenancy laws.

The King authorities has been promising a revamp of tenancy legal guidelines for over two years.

Throughout debate of the invoice, Inexperienced Opposition Chief Peter Bevan-Baker prompt the method wherein IRAC got here to its resolution on the lease enhance was flawed. 

Whereas IRAC obtained a lot of the session submissions from tenants, a lot of the justification for the lease will increase was associated to landlord price will increase.

“An impartial physique got here ahead with suggestions about what they might counsel they do. And now authorities is interfering with that,” Bevan-Baker mentioned. “Are you feeling snug with that?”

“Completely,” MacKay responded. “This is not one thing that I wished to do. However, on the identical time, this is able to push folks additional within the brink of poverty.”

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

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