Canada to introduce Tenants’ Bill of Rights

Speaking today from Vancouver, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that a Bill of Rights for renters in Canada will be introduced in the upcoming 2024 budget.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) says Canada’s Tenant Bill of Rights will require landlords to disclose a clear history of the price of an apartment. This will help newcomers to Canada get a better idea of ​​how much they should pay for rent when they arrive and give them negotiating power for a fair rate.

The bill will also introduce consequences for renovations (landlords evicting tenants under the premise that they need to renovate a rental property so a family member can move in but then rent the unit again) and create a lease national standard.

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The PMO also says that in the future, on-time rent payments will be factored into a person’s credit score. Trudeau says given the high cost of rent, Canadians deserve credit they can use when applying for a mortgage.

It says it will amend the Canadian Mortgage Charter and “ask landlords, banks, credit agencies and fintech companies to ensure rental history is factored into your credit score.”

This can make it possible for newcomers to Canada to qualify for mortgages at a lower rate when they are ready to buy their first home.

Finally, the government will launch a $15 million Tenant Protection Fund to provide funding to legal aid organizations that help protect tenants against unfair rent increases, renovations or bad landlords.

Rent in Canada as a newcomer

Rents in Canada have reached new highs. According to Rentals.ca, asking rents for all types of residential properties in Canada averaged $2,193 in February 2024, a year-over-year increase of 10.5%.

However, it is much higher in Canada’s larger urban centres, where the average price of a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is $2,653 and $2,495 in Toronto.

For context, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Canada in March 2021 was $1,685.

Newcomers are particularly affected by the cost of rent when they come to Canada. Statistics Canada data from December 2023 found that 1 in 6 newcomers rent their accommodation. Another Statistics Canada study released last February shows that more than a third of newcomers spent more than a third of their pre-tax income on rent.

To help ease the financial strain on all renters in Canada, the federal government introduced other measures throughout 2023 to help Canadians and newcomers pay their rent. For example, the Affordable Housing Fund is a $14 billion initiative to support the construction of new rental housing and the repair/renovation of existing housing.

The government also removed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for developers as an incentive to build more apartment buildings, including student housing and senior residences.

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reference: www.cicnews.com

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