New Brunswick Tribune

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

According to the report, tenants fear eviction

Key takeaways:

  • According to ACORN representative Jill Farrar, more than a third of tenants have been threatened with eviction by their landlord.
  • According to ACORN’s study, tenants face various issues due to the lack of eviction protection.

According to research issued Thursday by ACORN NB, an organisation that addresses social issues affecting low and moderate-income individuals, many tenants in New Brunswick are afraid of being evicted.

For the paper “NB Renters at Risk: The Lack of Eviction Protection and Housing Insecurity,” ACORN polled 169 renters. It invited renters to participate in the poll by posting it on its website and social media.

According to ACORN spokesman Jill Farrar, more than a third of tenants have been threatened with eviction by their landlord, and nearly half of those threatened with eviction are less inclined to request repairs for fear of being removed.

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“We discovered that New Brunswick’s current tenant regulations are a major contributor to the housing issue,” she stated.

“People are being relocated unnecessarily, forced to pay soaring rents that they can’t afford, and forced to live in inadequate housing.”

Farrar said her organisation conducted the study because it felt the province’s report “Review of the Rental Landscape in New Brunswick,” which surveyed more than 4,500 renters last spring, didn’t go far enough in examining evictions.

“We saw they left out some key questions about evictions in particular,” she explained. “As a result, when they announced their findings, they kept out the fact that many people in New Brunswick are facing evictions and renovictions.”

According to ACORN’s study, tenants face various issues due to the lack of eviction protection.

Twenty per cent of those polled stated a landlord had harassed them, and 44% said they had trouble getting repairs done.

According to Jennifer Vienneau, a spokesperson for Service New Brunswick, the Residential Tenancies Act protects renters from rent increases and evictions when they are used as punishment for complaints.

Tenants fear eviction, according to report

“Tenants who have been subjected to such reprisal should contact the Residential Tenancies Tribunal as soon as possible,” Vienneau said.

Farrar’s group, on the other hand, wants the statute changed to provide more protections.

“Rather than a set of regulations and laws to obey, the Residential Tenancies Act is more of an antiquated collection of suggestions,” she added.

It was enacted in 1975 and, according to Farrar, is in desperate need of an update.

“[The Act] is significantly weighted in favour of landlords’ rights and development corporations that own buildings, rather than tenants,” she explained.

“Rents have increased at an unprecedented rate here in New Brunswick during and during the pandemic, and there are currently no laws regulating the growth, even during the outbreak.”

Tenants can be evicted if they don’t pay their rent or haven’t left the building after receiving notice of termination, according to Service New Brunswick.

ACORN advocates for three things in its report: rent control, eviction protections, and a rewrite of the Residential Tenancies Act.

Last week, the province tabled legislation that would prohibit rent increases for the first year and limit price rises to once a year after that — but not rent restrictions.

Rather, the revised Act expands the Residential Tenancies Tribunal’s ability to assess all rent hikes.

Source: CBC News

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