Government agrees to review rent legislation

Service NL Minister Paul Davis is agreeing to review the Residential Tenancies Act. He said a review should get underway in the next few months. The act is a body of law that governs both tenants and landlords.

"We need to have another look at this piece of legislation to determine is this best serving the people of the province today, said Davis. He added that the current legislation was written 12 years ago.

"I think we can make improvements to it and that's the process we're going to undertake to do."

"We're moving towards undertaking a review of the current legislation and having a more in-depth look at what applies today and are there better ways that we can have legislation that will be to the benefit of landlords and tenants."

Review needed

Earlier this week, the mayor of Labrador City, Karen Oldford called for an urgent review of rent control legislation.

She said rising rental rates is making it difficult for average workers in her community to keep up.

An issue of rent control?

Oldford said she wants the government to examine rent control legislation in other provinces to help lower skyrocketing rents in Labrador City.

"We need to look at Ontario and BC and other provinces that have really good legislation," said Olford.

Minister Paul Davis said that kind of legislation may not help tenants.

"For the most part what we've seen based on the practices that have occurred in other provinces, is that it doesn't fix the problem we have today Labrador West."

In British Columbia for example, there are policies in place to cap rent increases. The allowable rent increase for 2012 in B.C. is 4.3 per cent. In 2011 it was 2.3 per cent.

He said Newfoundland and Labrador has some rent control legislation already, namely that once a unit is rented, landlords can only raise the rent once every12 months.

If the unit is rented on a weekly basis, the landlord must provide three months notice that they intend to increase the rent.

Landlords are not allowed to raise rent in the middle of a fixed term lease.

Davis said as part of the legislative review, there will be public consultation.

Senior tenants

Seniors living in the Bristol Senior's Community in St. John's said rising rental rates are a big concern.

Senior Mary Martin said she could afford to pay her rent now, but doesn't have much room in her budget for any increases.

"I think rent control would be a good thing," said Martin.

Especially for people on a fixed income and most seniors are on a fixed income."

External Links

Service NL Landlord & Tenant
Tenant Resource & Advosory Centre in B.C.