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P.E.I. Green motion calling for ‘first refusal’ provision on rental housing sales passes, with an asterisk



CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — P.E.I. MLAs handed a movement Might 31 in assist of the notion of making certain the province is assured to be first in line as a possible purchaser of residences or multi-unit rental housing put up on the market.

The availability, often known as the primary proper of refusal, has been adopted in Montreal. 

Nevertheless, the movement, launched by Inexperienced MLA Karla Bernard, was altered after Housing Minister Rob Lantz launched an modification that watered down a provision urging the province to determine this proper of refusal. 

As an alternative, the movement that handed urged the province to evaluate such a measure.

Talking earlier than the legislature, Bernard stated the province is seeing a discount within the variety of reasonably priced rental housing models. Bernard stated census information suggests the province has misplaced greater than 1,800 models with lease decrease than $1,000 per 30 days whereas the variety of models priced at $1,500 or extra elevated by 2,100.

“On the charges at which we’re shedding it, we should be proactive in holding it as a result of that’s the one manner we’re going to maintain it,” Bernard stated, referring to reasonably priced rental housing.

Bernard famous many tenants at Summerside’s Causeway Bay Lodge had been evicted final November after the sale of the property to a brand new proprietor. Former housing minister Matt MacKay later confirmed the province made a proposal to buy the resort however solely after it had been offered. 

The province deserted efforts to buy the resort after a proposal by the brand new proprietor was deemed too excessive.

Green MLA Karla Bernard introduced a motion in support of the province adopting a ‘right of first refusal’ on the sale of multi-unit residential buildings. The motion passed but only after an amendment was added that called on the province to simply “review” this measure as opposed to adopting it. - Stu Neatby/SaltWire
Inexperienced MLA Karla Bernard launched a movement in assist of the province adopting a ‘proper of first refusal’ on the sale of multi-unit residential buildings. The movement handed however solely after an modification was added that known as on the province to easily “evaluate” this measure versus adopting it. – Stu Neatby/SaltWire

Bernard stated a proper of first refusal provision might have allowed the province so as to add the motel to its inventory of publicly owned reasonably priced housing.

“There have been 106 models on this constructing – gone!” Bernard stated. “This was devastating for residents, whose housing was positioned in danger, and so they suffered tremendously in consequence.”

“This was devastating for residents, whose housing was positioned in danger, and so they suffered tremendously in consequence.” – Inexperienced MLA Karla Bernard

‘Evaluate’ vs. ‘set up’

PC MLA Brad Trivers supported the movement but in addition stated the province’s lease management provisions, together with a freeze on lease will increase this yr, are leading to a lack of reasonably priced housing.

He stated landlords are sometimes promoting properties or have stopped constructing new housing in consequence.

“A few of these models are occupied by individuals who want that reasonably priced housing. And, certainly, in the event that they didn’t have these lease controls, they couldn’t discover a place to dwell. A few of these low rental models are occupied by individuals who can greater than afford them,” Trivers stated.

Trivers steered some renters who make $150,000 a yr are renting residences for $800 a month, which limits the supply of those lower-rent models for tenants with decrease incomes.

Trivers added the province is seeing the lack of multi-unit buildings as a result of landlords can not make a revenue or can not recoup their prices as a result of lease management provisions.  

Lantz confirmed the province is prepared to buy properties so as to add to its roster of public housing models. However he stated he wished to see “due diligence” earlier than adopting a first-refusal provision.

Housing Minister Rob Lantz said a first refusal provision would need to be reviewed by the province before adoption is considered. - Stu Neatby/SaltWire
Housing Minister Rob Lantz stated a primary refusal provision would should be reviewed by the province earlier than adoption is taken into account. – Stu Neatby/SaltWire

Lantz additionally famous that Montreal is a municipality.

“What, if any, implications would apply by doing this at a provincial stage?” Lantz requested. “Whereas it could add new reasonably priced housing models or protect current ones, it doesn’t enhance our provide of housing total.”

Lantz then launched the modification to “evaluate” a proper of first refusal, versus the wording of the movement, which known as for the province to “set up” this provision.

“It feels just a little foolish to amend one thing that’s already not binding,” Bernard stated in response.

Bernard additionally famous {that a} proper of first refusal was about preserving current reasonably priced housing, not constructing new housing. 

The amended movement handed.

Talking to SaltWire after the vote, Bernard stated she doesn’t anticipate a change in authorities coverage. Motions are non-binding however are sometimes launched to lift consciousness about particular coverage points.

However Bernard stated she hopes the movement places stress on the federal government to behave to protect current rental models.

“That is simply a very simple manner. It is a like a slam dunk for presidency in the event that they wish to take it,” she stated.

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

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