Renters say ‘predatory’ increases are pricing them out of Calgary
Posted April 6, 2023
Renters across Calgary say greedy landlords are pricing them out of their homes.
Multiple people tell CTV News their rents have jumped as high as 40 per cent year over year. They say without significant solutions from the province, they’ll be forced onto the street.
“It’s really hard,” renter Mary Clark said.
“There’s no way (landlord) costs are going up like that.”
In February, Calgary had Canada’s fastest increasing rental rates in both condos and apartments and Rentals.ca says things are getting a lot worse.
A study conducted in March shows the average price for a one-bedroom is more than $1,500 dollars, up 23 per cent in 12 months. The increase for two-bedrooms is even steeper, at more than 25 per cent year over year. The average price there is $1,920.
Clark, who is 68-years-old, has lived in a northwest Calgary home for four years. Her husband has dementia and they’re both relying on fixed pensions. Their recent rent jump request – from $1,680 to $2,080 – had her in tears.
“Asking for $400 is astronomical,” Clark said.
“Every day, I don’t know if this is my last day here.”
The couple is currently relying on their pensions and federal help, but even after selling furniture to cover some rental costs, the duo are still skipping meals to save money.
“We end up with about $35 each,” Clark said.
“What do you get for $10 in the grocery store?”
RENT CONTROL ADVOCACY
Some Calgarians believe it’s time for the province to step in to stop “predatory raises.”
“We’re getting to this point where people can’t afford to live even if they have a decent paying full-time job,” ACORN’s Maggy Wlodarczyk said.
“Housing is a human right.”
Affordable housing advocates at ACORN are calling for rent control.
“We need a limit to how much landlords are allowed to increase their rent over a given period,” Wlodarczyk said.
“People are being taken advantage of.”
Landlords strongly object to a cap, arguing high utility bills and interest rate hikes have been hurting their return on investment. Gerry Baxter, who represents owners through the Calgary Residential Rental Association, says those landlords should be receiving sympathy.
“All these costs continue to increase and landlords were not able to keep pace,” he said.
“You invest in something because you want to make money.”
Baxter argues rent control would drive away investors looking for sure profit off renters, and eventually diminish supply.
“I guess you could refer to it as a landlord market,” he said.
“Supply and demand is what’s driving the issue right now,” not greed, he said.
Clark would disagree.
“It’s frustrating because I know we’re good people,” she told CTV News.
“I have never missed a day’s rent. I would love to see a movie from time to time or host a dinner party, but we just can’t.”
UCP NOT CONSIDERING RENT CAP
The majority of Canadian provinces currently have some form of rent control, but Jeremy Nixon says Albertans shouldn’t expect a cap any time soon. The minister of seniors, community and social services says his government would rather address the issue through other avenues.
“The way we’re addressing the crisis is by increasing supply,” he said.
“We’ve also increased funds for rent supplemental programs as well to make sure people get through the immediate crisis.”
Affordable housing advocates don’t think it’ll be nearly enough. They hope rent will become an election issue.
Article by Timm Bruch for CTV News Calgary