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Renters eager to see new 'Canadian Renters' Bill of Rights' while some landlords have concerns


The federal government is working on a new bill to aid Canadian renters.

The “Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights” would require landlords to disclose a properties’ rental price history to potential tenants, one of three measures teased by the prime minister Wednesday as part of the upcoming federal budget.

It will also include a new housing aid fund which would make renovictions more difficult for landlords and changes that would ensure credit scores take rent payments that are made on time under consideration when applying for a mortgage.

In her nine years of renting in New Brunswick, Nikki Kennedy says she has seen and been through just about everything. She recently moved into a new apartment after issues with past landlords.

“My last two apartments I have had really bad landlords who have harassed and charged me a lot of money to protect myself,” she says, referring to one landlord charging her $300 to remove someone off her lease agreement for safety reasons.

“Then, after the fact, they told me they wanted me to leave, that I wasn’t a good tenant, but I didn’t do anything to warrant that.”

She believes she was kicked out so her landlord could raise the price of rent for the unit. She is encouraged by the prime ministers announcement Wednesday which would see that process become more difficult for landlords so others don’t have to suffer similar experiences.

Kennedy is also excited about the aspect that on time rental payments could affect her credit score in a positive light.

“My dream is to own a home one day and the rate that things are going now it almost felt like an impossible dream,” she admits.

“It would really help to have this on my credit report and I have been trying my best to raise my score but it is difficult.”

New Brunswick ACORN, a tenant advocacy group, is also encouraged by the announcement and is eager to see the full scale of what will be tabled in the budget. Nichola Taylor, chair of New Brunswick ACORN, says most laws tend to favour landlords in New Brunswick. She hopes the new bill will help bring more balance for renters in the province.

She is also hopeful a rent cap will be included in the budget.

“Provinces like New Brunswick and Alberta which have very little rent control laws or rent protection for tenants need something like this to happen,” says Taylor.

“In order to help tenants further, policy changes actually need to be taken into account and need to be made in order for this to have a substantial effect on tenants.”

It’s a different story for landlords a day after the announcements.

Kevin Russell is the executive director of Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia. He says the limited knowledge at this time has left some landlords concerned.

“It’s installed a bit of fear across our sector,” Russel says.

“Because there is nothing worse then the unknown and that’s exactly what was put out there and now we are wondering what it all means.”

Unlike his counterparts in New Brunswick, he says laws tend to favour tenants in his province. He hopes as part of the budget, landlords won’t be left out.

“We would like to see where there is a bill of rights for rental housing providers,” says Russell.

“This should be extended to become Canadian Renters’ and Rental Housing Provider Bill of Rights. There has got to be fairness in the system and right now we are not seeing that.”

Local governments are also eager to hear more on the matter.

“We look at every opportunity that we can strengthen and modernize the act and the program,” says Service Nova Scotia Minister Colton LeBlanc.

“So we are looking forward to hearing what the federal government has to say on this file.”

More information is expected to become available when the federal budget is tabled on April 16.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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