Advocates say New Brunswick needs to increase tenant rights

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WATCH: As Atlantic Canadians continue to call for stricter tenant rights, a New Brunswick advocate says the protections for tenants is lacking. Travis Fortnum has more on the call for tenant rights in the province. – Nov 14, 2020

As Atlantic Canadians continue to call for stricter tenant rights, a New Brunswick advocate says the lack of protections there is staggering.

“Tenants have very little rights as compared to other jurisdictions in Canada,” says Abram Lutes, provincial coordinator for the Common Front for Social Justice New Brunswick.

READ MORE: Calls for Nova Scotia to reinstate eviction ban during public health emergency

In New Brunswick, landlords need to give two-to-three months’ notice before raising rent, depending on the length of the lease, but there’s no limit to how much rent could be hiked.

Lutes says the lack of regulation is the root of the problem.

“It’s easier to talk about what isn’t there than what is,” he says, “because that’s how little legislation there is.”

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He says both municipal and provincial levels of government are able to make a difference: municipal governments by getting more affordable housing going and provincial leaders can pass packages of legislation.

And it needs to happen sooner, rather than later, he says.

“There’s been a clear increase in homelessness and other precarious housing situations in the province,” says Lutes.

“It’s very easy to get evicted in New Brunswick.”

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil shot down the idea of rent control there, saying it doesn’t work.

READ MORE: Hundreds attend rally for rent control held outside Halifax City Hall

Lutes says it does, and you need only look across the Confederation Bridge for proof.

“P.E.I. has rent control,” he says, “so it’s not a question of being a small province.

“Small provinces can implement rent control.”

Prince Edward Island caps rent increases based on a percentage determined by several factors, vacancy rates, provincial economic forecasting and inflation among them.

Lutes says New Brunswick and Nova Scotia should do the same.

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