PEIFAH's Submission regarding the Draft Residential Tenancy Act

We at PEI Fight for Affordable Housing have detailed our feedback based on our tenant advocacy work, concerns from community members and expertise within the group with the focus of keeping our communities stable and inclusive, and that existing affordable housing is maintained.

Within the information below we have included a list of all the proposed changes that we were pleased to see (Introduction), and we offer our support to those adjustments to the Act.  Link to Residential Tenancy Act Draft.

We would also like to highlight some of the changes and additions that we detailed in our submission:

  • The “right to maintain occupancy” principle should be applied. This means the prioritization of keeping tenants within their units or return to their units after any required disruptions.  This provides security and transparency to tenants when their unit is requiring renovations, repairs or building changes, and ensures documented plans of expectations.  We outline steps  and timelines to ensure changes are transparent to all parties.
  • We propose that PEI adopt a program like the Eviction Prevention in the Community (EPIC) operated by the City of Toronto - a program effective in aiding tenants and landlords with issues of non-payment of rent.
  • Rent increases above the guidelines due to renovations or necessary repairs to be capped at 5% (or 6%).  Allowing large increases due to cosmetic or unnecessary changes undermines existing rent control regulations and destabilizes existing affordable housing.
  • The creation of a rent registry is a required mechanism to track existing rents, monitor increases and keep accurate data to ensure the rent control measures are effective and enforced.
  • We propose the creation of a Provincial Housing Planner who would provide guidance and resources to landlords in the development of tenant relocation plans related to temporary rehousing while renovations are done, evictions for demolition and change of use of property.
  • The Act should include a prohibition of eviction for change of use of property to a short-term rental.
  • If vacant possession is required due to renovations, the tenant will be served a six month Notice of Temporary Relocation and the landlord must register with the Provincial Housing Planner and begin the process of developing a comprehensive written plan for rehousing the tenants while the work is done.
  • The creation of Maintenance & Standards by-laws across the province should accompany this Residential Tenancy Act piece.  Minimizing landlord-tenant orders related to unit disrepair, inadequate action on maintenance issues, health and safety concerns for tenants in neglected buildings should be priority actions. This provides a standard of responsibility and transparency to both the tenant and landlord of expectations of care, while removing some of the fear of eviction from tenants as is happening under the current system.
  • We would also like to highlight that an issue with the public meeting piece of the consultation process is that there is a power imbalance between landlords and tenants, which can affect the ability for tenants to be present or speak at those events. It is difficult to achieve an open discussion on issues for tenants when there is potential for repercussions on voicing their concerns. The fear of eviction or retaliation by a landlord occurs frequently when it comes to addressing issues in that setting.

Further details and additional suggestions are found below in our attached analysis.  We will reiterate that Landlord tenant law must serve the broad public interest and our proposed changes prioritize this message.

Community members are encouraged to submit input!

Details can be found here: Give input to the Residential Tenancy Act.

Residential Tenancy Act Consultations - Department of Education and Lifelong Learning
Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3
Attention: Legislative and Planning Coordinator

Email: TenancyAct@gov.pe.ca

PEIFAH Submission

Introduction

The PEI Fight for Affordable Housing is a grass roots organization which grew out of tenant concern with widespread eviction, rising rents and loss of place in the community which reached a boiling point in 2018. Between October 2018 and the summer of 2019 tenants organized a number of tenant meetings at which hundreds of tenants told their stories and discussed ideas about what needed to change at the municipal, provincial and federal level with regard to housing policy, landlord tenant law and tenant political engagement. We also conducted surveys and entertained discussion on social media. After careful consideration of everything we had learned and shared we published some initial platforms at a press conference in Charlottetown in June 2019. We are an entirely volunteer organization with no budget.

Today 30% of all Island households are tenant households. In Charlottetown that number is over 50%, and in Summerside over 40%. The health, cohesion and inclusiveness of our communities depends on tenants having long-term security in well-maintained, affordable housing. Over the last few years evictions, stress caused by insecurity and extreme fear of being evicted has played havoc with the lives and the health of hundreds of tenant households in our Province.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit our comments on the draft Residential Tenancy Act. We certainly welcome the attempts made in this draft law to improve tenant protection and we appreciate the work that has gone in to bringing us this far.

We are pleased to see such changes as:

  1. The commitment to introduce stricter guidelines for determining whether a renovation is extensive enough that it requires vacant possession of the apartment;
  2. First right of refusal for tenants who have been evicted from an apartment for renovations [Section 71];
  3. An increase in the notice requirement when a landlord is seeking to evict a tenant in order to demolish, do renovations or change the use of the property;
  4. The introduction of compensation for tenants when they are forced to leave their apartment through no fault of their own [Section 73 (2)];
  5. Penalties for landlords who evict in bad faith and do not follow up on their alleged intentions;
  6. The ability of a community member to bring an application against a landlord when they know a landlord is violating the Act [Section 78 (1)]
  7. Prohibition of evictions (for landlords’ own use, demolitions, repairs or change of use of the property) which would displace school age children during the school year;
  8. The right of a tenant experiencing family violence or abuse to terminate a tenancy agreement early;
  9. A commitment to keeping the annual allowable increase no higher than 2.5% [Section 50 (2)].

We believe these provisions in the legislation demonstrate some understanding of the kind of changes needed in our landlord tenant law to ensure that our communities are stable and inclusive, and that existing affordable housing is maintained.

However, there are still areas of great concern to our members which we will set out below. Where possible we will make constructive comments, based on best practices in other jurisdictions.

Landlord tenant law must serve the broad public interest

There are three key areas of vital services for all Canadians. They are health, education and housing. As Dianne Oickle of the National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health, based at St.Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia says:

“Healthy housing is one of the most fundamental determinants of health and well-being, necessary for preventing ill health and building healthy social and physical environments.”

As Canadians we have decided that in order that our health and education systems meet social needs appropriately and fairly they should be publicly funded and free to the public. Even though housing is the most well documented social determinant of health the greater percentage of our rental housing on PEI is provided by private landlords for whom their rental property is, understandably, an investment rather than a service specifically designed to meet a vital social need.

Given the importance of the service they provide, our private market housing providers must expect to be regulated in order that the public interest is met. When we say public interest we mean a broad set of community policy goals such as social cohesion and tenant stability, affordability, the elimination of homelessness, the prevention of  trauma to families through eviction, the creation of diverse and inclusive neighbourhoods, the right of everyone to live without fear and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions though retrofitting, sound investment and sustainable design. Attention paid to these issues benefits us all.

About the consultation process

This legislation will directly affect people in our communities who rely on rental housing, and that includes people who may be marginalized in some way, due to lack of income, disability or because they are newcomers to Canada and Prince Edward Island. We feel it is important that as much as possible, their ideas and concerns are incorporated into the Act, and that they can see how their input has been used.

This is an important piece of legislation and it warrants a thorough and meaningful consultation process. We are disappointed at the limited number of public consultation sessions (even before COVID-19, very few were planned) taking place in a few select areas of the province.

We fear that tenants might experience some trepidation about participating in public consultations, given the high probability of their landlords attending the same meetings as they do. This is a barrier to participating in the consultation process, which could be addressed by reaching out to tenants, through social media or other means, and by inviting them to separate meetings. It would necessitate actively reaching out to people, instead of relying on them to respond to public calls for input.

The online survey, since the remaining public consultation sessions have been cancelled, has gained more importance. We find it quite long, and not particularly easy to understand. And again, people who have easy access to computers and internet will be more likely to use the survey. The nature of the survey may exclude some tenants, whose voices really should be heard.

Other ways of enhancing the public consultation process could involve easy-to-understand materials and even hard copies of plain-language surveys being made available in public spaces, in particular in public libraries.

These things could take more time, and be more costly, but in the end would result in better public policy, more reflective of the needs and concerns of the community.

Comments and Proposals

The right to maintain occupancy.

We propose that the new Act begin with acknowledgement of the fundamental principle of the “right to maintain occupancy”. This principle is recognised in Quebec law and means that tenants who comply with the law can stay in their dwelling as long as they wish. It embodies a societal belief that tenancies must be protected in law to keep them secure, stable and permanent. The right to adequate housing is recognized in Canadian law and the United Nations Charter of Human Rights as essential to people’s dignity and well-being. We have also learned through the current housing crises experienced in cities around the world that where tenants’ homes are not protected adequately cities and communities become unlivable and unaffordable for the majority of citizens.

Landlord’s notice for non-payment of rent – Section 63

Tenants miss rent payments on occasion for a wide variety of reasons beyond their control. It may be because they lost pay due to sickness, had to pay for a school trip for a child, needed car repairs, experienced increases in the cost of fuel, banking errors or unexpected grocery costs. The tightened provisions in this section will not solve any of these problems. They will however increase the level of fear with which tenants on limited incomes live and increase the number of evictions and the rate of homelessness.

We would propose that a landlord should not be permitted to serve a notice of termination for rent arrears on a tenant until the forth day of the month (or rental period) and that the time lines for a ending the tenancy and filing a tenant dispute in the existing Act be retained. These timelines still give the landlord time to apply for a hearing before the end of the month. Moreover, where rent arrears are accompanied by disruptive or damaging behaviour the landlord has the recourse set out in 64 (7) to apply for an emergency eviction.

In addition, we propose that PEI adopt a program like the Eviction Prevention in the Community (EPIC) operated by the City of Toronto.

This program provides wrap around eviction prevention services in order to help tenants facing imminent risk of eviction. The program works collaboratively with landlords to stabilize tenants in their current housing. It can help with payment of arrears, tenant access to rental supports, mediation between tenants and landlords and tenant access to mental health and health supports. It was described by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness which was hired to do an evaluation of the program at the end of 2018 as follows:

“Urban areas across Canada are experiencing increasingly unstable housing markets. This volatility directly impacts low-income individuals and families as they are faced with a lack of affordable housing options, rising rental costs, and declining or stagnating incomes. These factors leave a substantial proportion of individuals and families at risk of losing their rental housing.

As a result of these pressures, the Shelter, Support, and Housing Administration (SSHA) of the City of Toronto developed an intervention to help individuals and families to stabilize their housing. The Eviction Prevention in the Community (EPIC) program provides supports to low-income individuals and families in the City of Toronto who have received a notice of eviction.”

According to the evaluation 90 % of the tenant families were stabilized in their current tenancy, 10% were rehoused and 2% exited into homelessness. Landlords were pleased with the program.

The Advocacy Centre for Tenants in Ontario (ACTO) has also recommended that the Ontario provincial government fund a provincial eviction prevention program that builds on this successful model.

Landlord’s notice for repairs or renovations, demolition and change of use of property - Section 67 The creation of the Office of the Provincial Housing Planner

There are some good changes in this section of the Act. However, we feel that there needs to be a much broader approach taken to tackling the issue of evictions for renovations, demolition and change of use of property.

We have looked at Vancouver’s Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy, Ontario’s Rental Housing Protection Act (RSO 1990-1998) and Quebec’s Civil Code. These measures give us good practical ideas for comprehensive legislation which further protects tenants and limits evictions on these grounds.

We have also spoken with officials with the Province of British Columbia about the functioning of Vancouver’s Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy.

Provincial Housing Planner

We propose the creation of fully resourced Provincial Housing Planner. The role of the Provincial Housing Planner and their team will be to

  • guide landlords in developing a tenant relocation plan when tenants need to be rehoused on a temporary or permanent basis due to repairs and renovations, demolition or change of use of property
  • identify tenants in particular need who cannot pay a rent increase above the guideline awarded by the Director of Residential Tenancy and guide the landlord in developing a relocation plan for them
  • oversee the implementation of all tenant relocation plans
  • maintain data on the retention and loss of truly affordable housing in Prince Edward Island communities and make recommendations for policy change.

What happens when a landlord wants vacant possession to carry out repairs or renovations?

The landlord will serve the tenant with a six-month Notice of Temporary Relocation. As already set out in the draft Act, tenants will have a right to dispute this notice before the Director of Residential Tenancy.

Upon serving a tenant with a Notice of Temporary Relocation the landlord must register with the Provincial Housing Planner and begin the process of developing a comprehensive written plan for rehousing the tenants while the work is done.

The plan must be based on individual meetings with each tenant at which their needs and priorities are identified. The Provincial Housing Planner will review and approve the plan and oversee its implementation.

If a tenant chooses not to return to their previous apartment the landlord will plan for their rehousing accordingly.

In the meantime, tenants have a right to dispute the Notice of Temporary Relocation as set out in Section 67 (5) of the draft Act. The Act must give the Director of Residential Tenancy the authority to deny an application where

  • the repairs or renovations can be done without removing the tenant from the premises
  • the work is not necessary to ensure that the landlord is meeting their obligation to keep the apartment well-maintained
  • the work is cosmetic

The tenant returns to their previous apartment

After the work is completed a landlord must rehouse each tenant in their previous unit at the previous rent. Increases after that must be approved by the Director of Residential Tenancy according to criteria set out in section 51 and clarified in regulation. In the next section we propose necessary changes to section 51.

Compensation for the tenants is discussed below.

This proposal has been informed by the laws of Quebec where a landlord may not evict a tenant for repairs and renovations. Instead they must rehouse the tenant while the work is done and the tenant returns to the apartment at the original rent once the work is completed.

What happens when a landlord wants to evict tenants in order to change the use of the apartment or in order to demolish the building?

The landlord will serve a six month notice of termination of the tenancy on the tenants who will have the right to dispute the notice before the Director of Residential Tenancy.

Upon serving a tenant with a notice of termination the landlord must register with the Provincial Housing Planner and begin the process of developing a comprehensive written plan for rehousing the tenants. As mentioned above, the plan must be based on individual interviews with each tenant in order to assess their needs and priorities. Each tenant must be offered 3 options which suit their needs.

The implementation of the plan will be overseen by the Provincial Housing Planner. 

Compensation for tenants displaced – for all tenants in buildings with more than 3 units

We support the concept that tenants be compensated but we would propose that the Quebec model be used which requires that landlords pay compensation equal to three months' rent and reasonable moving expenses to the evicted tenant. In addition, it provides a tenant with the right to apply to the courts (which would be the Director of Residential Tenancies in the PEI context) if they consider that the prejudice they sustain warrants a greater amount of damages. Compensation should be paid to all tenants in buildings with more than three units.

Prohibition of eviction for change of use of property to a short-term rental.

We propose that a new clause be inserted following section 67(1) which expressly prohibits eviction of a tenant for the purpose of changing the use of a property to a short-term rental.

Protecting our communities from gentrification

The above measures will be an important step in bringing tenants a sense of security and developing good policy to protect our communities from gentrification.

Rent Increases above the guideline - section 51 (2)

Applications by landlords to increase rents above the guideline are on the rise. We must be vigilant that factors considered in awarding these increases, and the guidelines which accompany them, do not allow so many increases above the guideline that the section ultimately undermines the broad social policy of rent regulation. On the other hand, we recognise that capital expenditures on a range of items such as new windows, new doors and new heating systems are important periodic expenses which can be essential to maintaining the integrity of the building.

Our main public policy goal must be to ensure that capital expenditures do not cause housing insecurity and gentrification of our neighbourhoods.

We therefore propose that there be a cap on increases allowable under this section of 5 or 6%.

Capital expenditures which are claimed must be necessary to maintain the integrity of the building and bring the landlord in compliance with section 29. Costs of cosmetic and unnecessary changes to the building should not be allowed.

We would like to comment on factors (a), (c), (d), and (k).

(a) Rent differentials in the building should have no effect on allowable increases. If one rent is lower than other it may very well be because there has been greater turnover in other units and greater opportunity for illegal rent increases in the past.

(c)  Applications for rent increases above the guideline on the basis of a change in service or facility can be a means to raise the rent and ease out the current tenants. This has happened, historically, in other jurisdictions. Examples might be the introduction of covered parking spaces or an apartment converted to a gym in a building where tenants have no interest in, or need for, either service and can’t afford the increase. We must be careful.

Section 10 (3) says that a tenancy agreement can not be changed unilaterally. Therefore, a landlord cannot change the term of a tenancy without the tenant’s consent. We want to stress the importance of this section. It should be interpreted to prevent landlords bringing applications for a rent increase above the guideline for any change in service which the tenants don’t want.

(d) Only operating and capital expenditures of the past 12 months should be considered.

(k) This factor is wide open to interpretation. The expectation of a return in the first five years of operation is not reasonable. And opinions of what constitutes a reasonable expectation of return will always vary widely. We anticipate that guidelines will be employed. But these must be developed in consultation with both landlords and tenants.

Landlord must develop plan for tenants who cannot afford an awarded increase

We are proposing that a process be put into place, similar to that which we have described in section 3, to ensure that any tenant who is unable to pay an awarded increase is identified by the Provincial Housing Planner and rehoused. The landlord will be responsible for finding an affordable housing option for this tenant (e.g. in their own portfolio, a non-market apartment or other suitable option) with the support and oversight of the Provincial Housing Planner. 

Capital expenditures and climate change mitigation

In order that section 51(2) supports Provincial efforts to reduce green house gas emissions we would submit that costs of renovations should only be approved where they meet high standards with respect to making the building more energy efficient and less reliant on fossil fuels. While tenants have no control over the running of the premises where they live, the energy efficiency of their building effects their housing costs in two ways. Firstly, if their heating costs are not included in their rent they will be directly affected by the amount of heat which escapes the building. Secondly, if the building is not energy efficient it might affect their rent and the landlord’s need to increase it. The energy efficiency of our apartment buildings also effects the ability of our community at large to reach its carbon reduction targets. We suggest all proposed renovations must meet the highest standard of retrofitting standards in order to be compensated through section 51 of the Act.

Reduction in rent when period of amortization of renovation costs is over

Finally, we want to raise a very important issue. When the cost of renovations are amortized over a set number of years an amortized amount is structured into the rent through an increase. There should always be a date set which indicates when the set number of years is over and the renovations are paid off. On this date tenants should receive a reduction in rent corresponding to the amount of the annual amortized payment.

Policy guidelines must be made public

Policy and procedural guidelines used for calculating rent increases above the guideline and past cases must be made available to the public in order that tenants can effectively represent their interests at hearings.

Challenging illegal rent increases

The PEI Fight for Affordable Housing has learned through our many community meetings with tenants over the past 15 months that limiting the means by which an illegal increase can be challenged to the existing tenant does not work. The level of fear of retaliation often means that an existing tenant will not report an illegal rent. We are concerned that Section 51 (4) simply continues this unsatisfactory state of affairs.

We believe that the creation of a rent registry is the best, and most straightforward solution to this problem. We have learned that the provision that rents can only be raised once a year regardless of tenant turnover is useless unless rents are registered and tenants have a way of finding out what rent was charged on their unit before they moved in.

We would like a registry that is accessible to the public free of charge and that includes information on current and past rents, past applications and reasons for rent increases above the guideline and information on reviewed capital expenditures.

A similar registry is provided to homeowners and prospective home buyers in the existing Deeds Registry Offices at which they can view all sales transactions, mortgages, legal orders, liens etc. against a particular property.

The situation might also be helped if amendments to Section 51(4) enable members of the public at large to report an illegal rent increase to the Director and require that the complainant is not identified to the landlord. Perhaps section 78(1) which gives a “person” a right to apply to the Director to decide whether a violation of the Act has taken place during the tenancy is suffice. Clarification on the intended interpretation of “person” would be helpful.

Challenging a guideline increase.

We would like to see the tenant’s right to challenge a guideline rent increase, which is included in the Rental of Residential Property Act, also included in the new legislation.

The importance of a rigorous hearing procedure – Section 83

We are concerned with the wording of Section 83 which appears to give the Director extraordinary rights to determine the level of formality and due process required at a hearing. We have heard stories of “sloppy” process involved in hearings held by telephone. Tenants must have the right to a face-to-face hearing which follows strict rules of evidence and provides them with the opportunity to cross examine the landlord and their witnesses, examine documents submitted, cross examine the landlord and their witnesses in relation to these documents and bring their own witnesses to introduce contradictory evidence.

 

We propose that procedural rules for hearings be a matter of Director of Residential Tenancy policy and made available to the public. This way tenants know what to expect and what to prepare for.

Landlord’s own use extended to siblings – Section 65 (2)

Section 65 (2), which gives shareholders in a family corporation the right to evict tenants for their own use, expands the class of relative for whom an eviction for landlord’s own use is possible to include siblings. We are gravely concerned about this change and propose that it be removed. It serves as a “go around” for investors to circumvent section 65(1). Tenants are the vulnerable party in these types of evictions. We respectfully submit that if a landlord has a sibling for whom they would like to provide housing, they can purchase or rent alternative accommodation. The negative impact on the tenant’s household of an eviction outweighs the impact on the sibling of finding housing elsewhere.

Ceasing to qualify for a rent subsidy should not be a ground for eviction – Section 70

Section 70 of the draft residential Tenancy Act looks as if it provides private sector landlords with a tenant who is either (ii) receiving a mobile rental subsidy through a provincial housing program, or (ii) receiving a subsidy from a  public housing provider, a private non-profit or cooperative which is renting the apartment in order to sub-let the apartment to a low-income family which qualifies for a subsidy. It is unclear as we have not yet seen the regulation which will determine the meaning of a “public housing body”.

Ceasing to qualify for a subsidy is not a ground for eviction in PEI’s existing legislation. PEI Housing and other municipal public housing providers have generally dealt with a family’s change of circumstances sensitively. If a family member has left the home and the family no longer qualifies for a subsidy on a multi-bedroom unit the housing authority will work to find a smaller apartment to transfer them to. This section introduces a harshness to the way we house families living on low incomes which is unnecessary and seems to promote lack of tenant stability.

A tenant who ceases to qualify for a subsidy in a private apartment should be able to choose to pay market rent for the unit. They may have children in schools close by and other important reasons to want to stay in the neighbourhood. A private landlord can offer another unit in the building or elsewhere for a subsidized tenant.

We propose a procedure like the process set out in the Toronto Community Housing Authority’s handbook for tenants who are receiving a supplement in a private sector unit.

“What happens if I lose my subsidy?

If you no longer qualify for rent-geared-to-income housing, you may stay in your unit but you must pay the full market rent. You will need to discuss options with your landlord. You will be given at least 90 days’[1] notice of the increase in your rent to the full market rent. You will have an opportunity to provide more information before the decision is made and you may request an Internal Review”

Rent Supplement Handbook - Housing Connections, Toronto Community Housing Authority

[1] In PEI the notice required for a rent increase would be three months rather than 90 days.

Maintenance and Repair

a) Maintenance Standards By-Law.

The PEI Fight for Affordable Housing has long asked for maintenance standards by-laws. We understand that they would not be implemented through the Residential Tenancy Act, but we believe that they would play an important complementary role in ensuring that rental accommodation is maintained in a good state of repair pursuant to section 29 of the new Act. We are therefore hoping that the government will start to work on the introduction of maintenance standards by-laws in the near future.

Although a maintenance standards by-law is usually implemented at the municipal level, given the size of Prince Edward Island it might be more practical to introduce one at the provincial level.

The by-law would set out required standards of day-to-day maintenance of rental units such as non-functioning stove elements and refrigerators, leaking ceilings, rising floor tiles, unkempt common areas and lack of front and back door security.

It would be enforced on behalf of the public by inspectors who can issue landlords with a list of any violations with a time frame for doing repairs. It will provide tenants with a non-threatening, neutral party to reach out to if they are having difficulty getting repairs done.

b) The interdependence of the obligations to pay rent and the obligations to maintain the premises in a good state of repair.

The interdependence of material covenants – most significantly the obligation to provide premises in a good state of repair and the obligation to pay rent – is a crucial common-law principle in landlord tenant law. It holds that neither party can expect the other to perform their obligations if they themselves are not performing theirs. It is entrenched in the Rental of Residential Property Act in section 5 (2):

“Subject to this Part, the common law rules respecting the effect of the breach of a material covenant by one party to a contract on the obligation to perform by the other party apply to rental agreements.”

 This is a very important principle for tenants as it provides the legal basis for tenants to pay rent into a court- or tribunal-approved trust fund if their landlord is seriously neglecting maintenance and repair[1]. But, more generally it brings an element of equality into a legal relationship in which there is, by its very nature, an enormous power imbalance. This common-law principle is not asserted in the draft Residential Tenancy Law. We submit that it should be. Moreover, section 20. (1) states:

“A tenant shall pay rent when it is due under the tenancy agreement, whether or not the landlord complies with this Act, the regulations or the tenancy agreement, unless the tenant has an express right under this Act to deduct or withhold all or a portion of the rent.’

Is this clause suggesting that the Act fly in the face of the common law principle of the interdependency of material covenants?

In addition, Section 105 in the draft new Act states:

“Except as modified or varied under this Act, the common law respecting landlords and tenants applies in Prince Edward Island.”

The words “Except as modified or varied under the Act, …” give us further cause for concern.

c) Orders to repair and abatements of rent

Given the frequency of tenants experiencing difficulty in getting repairs done it would be useful if the new Act included a specific provision giving a tenant the right to apply to the Director for an Order requiring certain repairs be done and for an abatement of rent to compensate for the loss of enjoyment of the premises resulting from the disrepair (e.g. loss of use of a room when a ceiling is leaking, or inability to cook when the stove elements don’t work). Section 29 would be the appropriate spot to put it. We acknowledge that section 88 (1) (c) and (e) provides the Director with the power to make this kind of order and section 93 gives the Director the power to investigate, but more prominent mention of these rights might be appropriate and useful.

 

[1] In PEI the notice required for a rent increase would be three months rather than 90 days.

[2] Quann and Pajelle Investments Ltd.

Tenant application for the return of a security deposit

There does not appear to be a specific provision giving a tenant the right to apply to the Director for the return of a security deposit and interest. Section 41 would be the appropriate section to include mention of this right.