Canada to introduce a Renters Bill of Rights

Canada to introduce a Renters Bill of Rights, InternationalstudentsHelpline.com
Canada to introduce a Renters Bill of Rights, InternationalstudentsHelpline.com

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

A release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) says The Canadian Renter’s Bill of Rights will require landlords to disclose a clear history of an apartment pricing. This will help newcomers to Canada have a better idea of what they should be paying for rent when they arrive and provide bargaining power for a fair rate.

The Bill will also introduce consequences for renovictions (landlords who evict tenants under the premise that they need to renovate a rental property so a family member can move in but then rent the unit out again) and create a nationwide standard lease agreement.

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

He says he will amend the Canadian Mortgage Charter and “call on landlords, banks, credit bureaus, and fintech companies to make sure that rental history is taken into account in your credit score.”

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

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

Renting in Canada as a newcomer

Rents in Canada have reached new highs. According to Rentals.ca, asking rents for all residential property types 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 with the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver coming in at $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 impacted by the cost of rent when they come to Canada.  Statistics Canada data from December 2023 found that  1 in 6 newcomers rents their accommodation, Another  Statistics Canada study released last February shows that more than a third of recent newcomers were spending more than a third of their pre-tax income on rent.

To help lessen the financial strain for all renters in Canada, the federal government introduced other measures throughout 2023 to help Canadians and newcomers afford their rent. For example, the Affordable Housing Fund is a $14 billion initiative to support the building of new rental housing and the repair/ renewal 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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