Opposition wants to slash allowable rent increase on P.E.I. from 10.8 to 1%

After two years of one per cent rent increases, IRAC has allowed a record 10.8 per cent increase for units heated with oil beginning Jan. 1. (David Horemans/CBC - image credit)
After two years of one per cent rent increases, IRAC has allowed a record 10.8 per cent increase for units heated with oil beginning Jan. 1. (David Horemans/CBC - image credit)

Housing is one of the pressing topics expected to be addressed when the P.E.I. Legislature begins its fall sitting on Tuesday.

And it's not just the dire homelessness situation in Charlottetown.

Both the province and the Opposition Green Party say they are drafting legislation to deal with high rent increases.

Last month, the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission announced record increases for this January of 5.2 per cent for unheated units and 10.8 per cent for those heated with furnace oil. The commission said the increases are based on a Consumer Price Index formula that helps determine how much rental owners spend operating their rental units.

Housing Minister Matthew MacKay said he would not allow such high rent increases to happen, but Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker said the province has already demonstrated a failure to act, so the Greens are drafting their own proposed legislation.

'They've dragged their feet'

"I hope government comes forward with their own piece of legislation and I will support it heartily if that happens," Bevan-Baker said.

"But we have faced situations like this before where government has not, they've dragged their feet, they've been tardy, they've plodded along and not come through with legislation they promised. So this is in place to make sure that something is done."

David Horemans/CBC
David Horemans/CBC

The Green bill would set aside maximum allowable rent increases for 2023 and substitute a new allowable rent increase — one per cent for units heated with furnace oil and zero per cent for others. IRAC's maximum allowable rent increase was one per cent in each of the last two years.

The Green Party will also be advocating for the inclusion of a permanent, legislated cap on rent increases in government's proposed new Residential Tenancy Act, Bevan-Baker said.

"As a basic human need, housing must be accessible and affordable."

Any legislation will need to be completed and passed before rent increases take effect on Jan. 1. Landlords would have already notified tenants of any planned rent increases to allow for the required three months notice.