Renters to see a 5 per cent hike in 2013

Renters on P.E.I. are bracing for increases as the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission has approved a rental hike for 2013.

The commission said Island landlords can now charge five per cent more in rent every month for heated units, or an additional charge of three per cent for unheated units. The commission also approved a 1.5 per cent rent increase for mobile homes.

The annual increase has only been that big once before, in 2009. Usually, the commission allows a one, two, or three per cent increase.

Marie Burge, a member of the P.E.I. Working Group for a Livable Income, said the rent increase will force more Island families to seek help from food banks, saying the food budget often suffers when money is tight.

Burge said the rent increase will also be hard on students and newcomers.

"I can't imagine, what does a student do when they have to pay an extra 35 bucks a month? Go and work another five hours? Six hours?" asked Burge. "To me, it's cruel."

Renters have a few months before they could see a bigger bill. The increase is set to into effect in the new year.

Property owners who believe they have special circumstances that would warrant a higher increase can make an application to the director of residential rental properties.

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