Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Homeowners in Prince Edward Island are allowed to increase the cost of their rental housing by 3% at any time in 2024, provided they having informed the tenant at least three months in advance.

Rent cap comes into effect Monday in Prince Island ;douard

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A 3% cap on rents will come into force in 2024.

Radio-Canada

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After a year of rent freezes in Prince Edward Island – a temporary measure due to inflation – a permanent cap on rents rents will come into force on January 1, 2024. For very different reasons, tenants and owners say they are unhappy with this measure.

From Monday, tenants who received three months' notice could pay up to 3% more for their accommodation. This may be supplemented by a second increase of 3% if approved by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.

Cory Pater, a member of PEI Fight for Affordable Housing, a group that fights for affordable housing, points out that renters have already been struggling with inflation for several years. Rent increases could mean they can no longer afford housing, he says.

The market does not lend itself to looking for new or cheaper accommodation. There is nothing cheaper, claims Cory Pater. It's like a slap in the face to people who are already in a precarious situation.

The executive director of the Residential Rental Association of Prince Edward Island, June Ellis, points out that landlords are also affected by inflation.

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For example, rising costs for heating, snow removal and insurance. According to her, the rent freeze in 2023 also had financial repercussions for landlords. For all these reasons, limiting increases to 3% will not allow owners to generate profits, she says.

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The maximum allowable increase in rents in Prince Edward Island was 1% in 2021 and 2022, 0% in 2023 and will be 3% in 2023. (Archive photo)

According to June Ellis, some housing in the province could be taken off the market if the ceiling does not change. Companies have already sold their buildings, she continues.

It’s a business and like all businesses, it’s impossible to survive for long if you don’t make a profit, she says. 3% will work for some people, but for others, especially those who have been asking for very low rent for years or even decades, it will not be viable.

If the province does not want to increase the rent cap percentage, it will be forced to build more social housing in the long term, argues June Ellis.

Among people who already live on a very limited budget, such as students, we were not very confident two days before the new rules came into force.

Trey Cartwright, an engineering student at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), acknowledges that rent increases affect tenants differently, depending on the case. Opening the door to total increases of 6% could be a bad precedent, he says.

He says he and his two roommates each pay $775 a month. For single people, it can be difficult.

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Trey Cartwright resides and studies in Charlottetown.

Karam Elahi, an international student , was surprised to see the cost of housing when he arrived in Canada three months ago. I expected the cost of living to be better, he admits.

On Saturday, he was moving into a new apartment in Charlottetown. Four roommates will split the $2,400-a-month rent for a two-bedroom apartment. On the UPEI campus, four roommates paid a total of about $3,600.

I talked with fellow students who are graduating. They told me that it has become expensive in Charlottetown, compared to three or four years ago, says Karam Elahi.

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Karam Elahi, who has been studying in Charlottetown for three months, was changing apartments this weekend.

Despite the province's ongoing rent freeze in 2023, several landlords have obtained authorization from the Island Regulatory and Appeal Board to increase their rent.

To do this, they had to prove to the Commission that it was necessary for them to have a better return on their investment.

There are landlords who have been authorized rent increases of up to 50%, deplores Cory Pater. There has been no rent freeze.

He urges tenants to appeal to the Commission if they find themselves in a similar situation in 2024

Based on reporting byStephen Brun ( CBC) and Gabrielle Drumond

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