Moncton Times & Transcript: Tenants' group calls on N.B. to close renoviction loophole

Posted June 17, 2022

Members of a tenants' rights group gathered on High Street on Wednesday, calling for the province to close a legislation "loophole" they say will lead to an increase in homelessness. 

ACORN New Brunswick president Nichola Taylor said after the New Brunswick government introduced a rent cap for the remainder of the year, some landlords have begun evicting tenants for basic renovations and then raising the rent. 

"This has a very big impact on the most vulnerable in our society," she said. 

"Not everybody can afford rent over $1,000," While the rent cap legislation does address the issue of renoviction,Taylor said it's too vague. 

"What I think is a renovation may be something different from what the landlord thinks is a renovation; she said. ACORN co-chair Vanessa Jones said they're beginning to see the renovic-tion issues pop up more frequently. 

"We're hearing horror storks more and more," she said, adding that affordable units in the city are beginning to disappear. 

According to Service New Brunswick spokesperson Jennifer Vienneau, landlords can still evict tenants when they plan to complete extensive renovations vehich require the unit to be vacant. 

"This includes renovations that leave tenants without water, electricity,heat or safe, livable housing (safety hazard or noise) for an extended period. It would not include painting, fixtures, roof shingles, work on a partial unit, etc;" she said in an emailed response. 

Under the bill, tenants who receive a notice of termination need to contact the tribunal so that it can investigate and ensure the request is legitimate and follows the current legislation. 

Taylor said this puts the burden on the tenant who is already in a stressful situation."You're the one who has to check up on the landlord to make sure the renovation has actually taken place," she said. "It makes no sense and nobody realistically will do that." 

She said the group understands that landlords have a business to run, but believes New Brunswick should have a system similar to British Columbia where a landlord has to go to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal to have renovations approved before issuing an eviction notice. 

"We're asking the Higgs government to close these loopholes and make it more fair for tenants," Taylor said. "That's all we're asking." 

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Article by Payge Woodard for the Times & Transcript

 

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