Why N.B. landlords who want to renovict tenants now have to apply

Click to play video: 'N.B. landlords will now have to apply in order to renovict tenants'
N.B. landlords will now have to apply in order to renovict tenants
WATCH: New Brunswick is strengthening protections against renoviction by putting the onus on landlords to apply to terminate leases. Silas Brown reports – May 11, 2023

New Brunswick is introducing new renoviction protections that would put the onus on landlords who want to evict tenants in order to perform renovations.

Minister responsible for housing Jill Green said the new rules will offer more protection for tenants, while also providing clarity for landlords.

“Landlords will now need to apply and show that the renovation is going to be happening and it has to happen in a timely matter, so that is more protection for tenants and it helps the landlords too because they will be able to do approved evictions,” she said.

Landlords who want to terminate a lease in order to renovate will have to apply to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal (RTT) and provide proof of the work being done and that it’s necessary for the unit to be vacant. Any work must begin within two months of approval.

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The current rules place the onus on the tenant, requiring them to apply to the tribunal if they don’t believe the renovations meet the burden to break the tenancy, or if the work didn’t take place.

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Liberal housing critic Benoit Bourque says the new rules appear positive, but that additional protections for tenants are needed.

“It seems like a step in the right direction, it seems to go more to deal with the imbalance of power between the tenants and the owners,” he said.

“Having said that, is it enough? I don’t think it is. I honestly think that the rent cap, maintaining the rent cap as it is would be a much more efficient solution.”

The new renoviction protections are similar to changes proposed by the Greens when new rules for when tenancies can be terminated were introduced last year. Green housing critic Megan Mitton said she’s pleased to see the government catch up to the idea, but also said that without a cap on rents, tenants are not being served by the government.

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“Without a rent cap, it’s not sufficient, there’s really not the protections needed,” she said.

“So they can say they’re talking to stakeholders but if they’re not listening to the stakeholders that are tenants who are really being impacted by this then I don’t think they’re doing their job.”

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick tenants dealing with significant increases after rent cap ends'
New Brunswick tenants dealing with significant increases after rent cap ends

Minister Green wouldn’t rule out reintroducing a cap on rental increases, which was set at 3.8 per cent last year, but said the government won’t make a decision on it until it introduces its housing strategy next month.

Other changes included in the new legislation close loop-holes around rental increases for fixed-term leases and strengthen penalties for those found in violation of the Residential Tenancies Act.

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