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Telegraph Journal: Tenants group to rally this weekend for permanent rent control - ACORN Canada

Telegraph Journal: Tenants group to rally this weekend for permanent rent control

Posted September 19, 2022

A New Brunswick tenants’ rights group is holding a rally and petition signings in four cities this weekend, calling on the province to extend its cap on rent increases.

It’s all part of NB ACORN’s End the NB Housing Crisis campaign in support of rent control and an end on evictions due to renovations, also called renovictions.

On Saturday, ACORN members and tenants will gather in Moncton for a rally, while Fredericton, Saint John and Bathurst will play host to petition signings, the timing chosen as the end of the province’s one-year 3.8 per cent rent cap on Dec. 31 nears.

“People are already starting to get notices from landlords with big increases on their rent. We need to put the pressure on the government to say that this is not OK,” said Nichola Taylor, chair of NB ACORN.

“Tenants, especially low to moderate income families and the most vulnerable in society, such as seniors, people with disabilities, single-parent families, they are all going to struggle this winter, especially with the cost of living as the inflation has risen to eight per cent.”

Taylor said the group is advocating for a permanent rent cap of two per cent. This year’s cap of 3.8 per cent was based on the annual consumer price index increase for New Brunswick. In July, inflation in New Brunswick was at 8 per cent.

Taylor said the fact the Higgs government announced a one-year rent cap for tenants, while giving a 50 per cent reduction to the provincial property tax rate for non-owner-occupied residential properties over three years, shows an imbalance between landlords and tenants.

In a communication earlier this month, Service New Brunswick spokesperson Jennifer Vienneau said the province “continues to monitor the housing situation in New Brunswick” and will “introduce additional measures if necessary,” in response to a question about whether the province is considering to extend the rent cap.

Vienneau noted other rent control measures introduced at the end of 2021, such as limiting rent increases to once per year, extending the rent increase notice period to six months, and the Residential Tenancies Tribunal’s authority to review and deny “unreasonable” rent increases, will remain in effect after the rent cap expires.

To Taylor, however, a rent cap is necessary for tenants amid rising costs of living.

“We need more action from Higgs’s government, so we can give reassurance to people that they’re not going to have to choose between rent or groceries,” she said.

“That’s what some people will be facing these next few months.”

The events, to be held on Saturday, include a rally in Moncton at 11 a.m. at Assumption Place; a picket and petition in Fredericton at 1 p.m. at Kings Place Mall; a petition in Saint John at 11 a.m. at King’s Square; and a petition and picket in Bathurst at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Main Street and Douglas Avenue.

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Article by Emma McFee for the Telegraph Journal