Tenants fear eviction, report says

Many tenants in New Brunswick fear eviction, according to a report released Thursday by ACORN NB, an organization that tackles the social problems of low- and modest-income people.

ACORN interviewed 169 tenants for the report,NB Tenants at Risk: Lack of Eviction Protection and Housing Insecurity. He posted the survey on his website and social media, urging tenants to complete it.

More than a third said they had been threatened with eviction by their landlord, and almost half said they were less likely to seek repairs for fear of eviction, ACORN spokeswoman said. , Jill Farrar.

“We have found that the current tenant laws in New Brunswick are one of the main causes of the housing crisis,” she said.

“People are needlessly displaced, forced to pay rising rents that they can barely afford, and they have to live in substandard housing.

Farrar said his group conducted the investigation because it believed the report titled “New Brunswick Rental Landscape Review,” which was conducted by the province last spring and interviewed more than 4,500 tenants, did not go far enough in the discussion of evictions.

“We noticed that they had left out some important questions about the evictions in particular,” she said. “And so, when they released their results, they let go of the fact that a lot of people in New Brunswick have problems with re-victions and evictions.”

According to the ACORN report, the lack of eviction protection contributes to all kinds of problems for tenants.

Of those surveyed, 20 percent said they had been harassed by a landlord and 44 percent said they had problems getting repairs done.

Jennifer Vienneau, spokesperson for Service New Brunswick, said the Residential Tenancies Act provides protection to tenants against rent increases and eviction, when used as retaliation for complaints .

“Tenants subject to such retaliation are encouraged to promptly contact the Residential Tenancies Tribunal,” said Vienneau.

But Farrar’s group wants the law changed to provide greater protections.

“The Residential Tenancies Act is more of an outdated set of guidelines than a set of rules and laws to follow,” she said.

Adopted in 1975, said Farrar, it needs a substantial updating.

“[The Act] leans very strongly towards the rights of landlords and development companies who own buildings, rather than towards tenants, ”she said.

“During the pandemic and ongoing, rents have increased at an unprecedented rate here in New Brunswick, and there are still no rules limiting the increase, even during the pandemic.”

According to Service New Brunswick, tenants can be evicted if they do not pay their rent or if they have received a notice of termination and have not vacated the building.

In its report, ACORN calls for three things: rent control, eviction protection and an overhaul of the residential tenancy law.

Last week, the province introduced legislation that would ban rent increases in the first year and limit price increases to once a year thereafter – but did not put rent caps in place.

Instead, the amended law increases the power of the Residential Tenancies Tribunal to review all rent increases.

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