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P.E.I. Greens call for one-year extension of 'renoviction' ban

Prince Edward Island’s Green Party is calling for a pandemic-era ban on “renovictions” to be reinstated.

Green Leader Karla Bernard tabled the bill in the legislature to prevent landlords from evicting tenants in order to renovate until November of next year. The most recent estimate from WorkPEI pegs the vacancy rate at just 0.8 per cent.

“The fact that the vacancy rate is still so low,” said Bernard. “People won’t have anywhere to go if they are being evicted for that purpose, then this gives them a little more protection.”

An existing ban expired at the beginning of November. The governing Tories supported it in 2021, but the province has since adopted the newly updated Residential Tenancy Act.

Housing Minister Rob Lantz said the new act has strong protections for tenants.

“I also don’t want to restrict the capability of landlords to reinvest into their properties,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of old housing stock here that needs significant renovations.”

The act includes compensation for renters displaced by renovations, processes for evictions, and provisions for a rent cap, set for three per cent for 2023.

Bernard said they would like to see long-term rules for evictions for renovations, but this is a first step.

“As for now, it’s just about giving government some time and giving some renters some breathing room,” she said. “While government builds up our vacancy rate again, and while the community builds up our vacancy rate again.”

Lantz said he will consider the proposal, but it’s important to create an environment where landlords want to provide housing.

“Again, it comes back to having a healthy housing market,” said Lantz. “Where landlords can reinvest in their properties, and provide safe and affordable housing for tenants.”

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