Advocates demand rent control in New Brunswick amid affordable housing ‘crisis’

Affordable housing advocates, including ACORN New Brunswick, demonstrate in uptown Saint John to call on the N.B. government to increase protections for tenants in the province. Tim Roszell/Global News

Affordable housing advocates held a demonstration in uptown Saint John Thursday to call on the provincial government to increase protections for tenants in New Brunswick.

Members of ACORN New Brunswick were joined by other members of the public in King’s Square. Many of them were holding signs like “Stop Evictions Now,” and “Tenants rights are human rights.”

Read more: 30 organizations sign New Brunswick tenants’ rights group’s letter to premier

ACORN is demanding a two per cent cap on rent increases, a moratorium on evictions and a complete overhaul of the New Brunswick Residential Tenancies Act.

Calls for rent control and a freeze on evictions have been made for several months. Many tenants have complained that their buildings have been sold and rent increased to an unsustainable level for them.

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Organizers of Thursday’s demonstration delivered a letter to the Service New Brunswick office in Saint John.

ACORN member Sarah Lunney said they were able to speak with the manager of the office, who said the letter would be passed on to the office of Service New Brunswick Minister Mary Wilson.

Lunney said too many vulnerable New Brunswick residents are in danger of losing their homes because there are not enough protections for tenants.

Read more: Higgs says New Brunswick is not facing rental ‘crisis’ as 90-day review is launched

“As more and more people become homeless or living in unsafe housing conditions, people are not going to be able to it by any longer and just take it,” Lunney said. “We are out here because we need action from our government. This is a crisis and we’re done with putting up with it.”

In February, Premier Blaine Higgs announced a 90-day review of rental and low-income housing concerns in New Brunswick, but at the time he said the province is not in a rental crisis.

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