Professor says N.B needs more than rent control to create affordable housing

·1 min read

There are calls for rent control in New Brunswick as vacancy rates remain low and demand for apartments is on the rise.

But a University of New Brunswick professor studying the issue says a cap on increases won't do enough on its own to keep housing affordable.

Julia Woodhall-Melnik is the director of the laboratory for housing and mental health at the university's Saint John campus.

"New Brunswick is becoming a hotbed for actual companies, property management companies, investors, developers to come in and put their money in," she said.

"So now you're looking at people who have a bit more power."

Woodhall-Melnik said the province lacks specific formal protections for tenants, which most areas with rent control have in place.

She is advocating formal eviction protections, which can be found in provinces such as Ontario. This legislation prevents landlords from removing a tenant in order to drive up rent.


Moncton Centre MLA Rob McKee said recently he'd like to see legislation to control rent increases. He said the biggest request to his constituency office is help finding affordable housing in the city.

Huge rent hikes are allowed in New Brunswick because the Residential Tenancies Act does not restrict rent increases.

Service New Brunswick's website said there is no rent control in place, because "a landlord who raises rates in an unreasonable manner risks losing tenants. There would be no value to implement rent control."

The province's three largest cities all have vacancy rates in the single digits.

Woodhall-Melnik said wage increases haven't been keeping up with surging rents.

"Housing is so connected to our physical health, our mental health, our stress levels, the health of future generations," she said.