CTV News Atlantic: After property tax cut, New Brunswick renters want cap extended
Posted November 2, 2022
Posted on November 1st, 2022
The issue of rent caps was the topic of hot debate Tuesday in New Brunswick. There are concerns that without a rent cap, many people could be on the street.
While the province introduced property tax cuts Tuesday for landlords, members of ACORN N.B. were protesting. The housing advocacy group wants the government to continue to enforce a 3.8 per cent rent cap that has been in place since March.
“The Tories have spoken quite a bit about building their way out of this crisis,” Angus Fletcher, member of ACORN N.B. and N.B. Coalition for Tenants Rights, tells CTV Atlantic. “But if all they do is build and have no consumer protections and no price controls, then what they’re saying is that they’re willing to leave folks who are low and middle-income behind.”
The Minister responsible for housing won’t say whether she’ll extend the cap, but she did eliminate the double tax on rental properties one year ahead of schedule. Jill Green wants New Brunswickers to speak up about their rent increases.
“We need everybody that’s experiencing concerns about rent increases to reach out to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal so we can use that information as we’re assessing the situation going forward.”
For some renters, time is running out on whether they can continue to afford their homes.
“People are genuinely worried,” Nichola Taylor, co-chair of ACORN N.B., says. “It’s happening right in the middle of winter. Nobody really wants to move in winter, and nobody wants to be told, ‘You’re going to end up with a massive rent increase that you can’t afford.’”
Peter Jongenellen, co-chair of ACORN N.B., shares Taylor’s concerns.
“We’re seeing people who are basically telling us that they are skipping meals,” Jongenellen said. “They have to figure out how to get medications cheaply, or not even taking medications. This is something that’s pretty concerning. It’s pretty bad when you have to choose between food, a roof over your head, or what bills to pay.”
On Tuesday, Green affirmed that the provincial government understands the urgency behind extending rent caps.
“We understand how important it is to tenants to make this decision,” she said.
Representatives of ACORN N.B. tells CTV Atlantic that Green has requested a meeting with the advocacy group in the coming week.