Residential Tenancy Act Continues to Disappoint
The PEI Fight for Affordable Housing is disappointed in the actions of all parties bringing the Residential Tenancy Act through third reading.
This act is replacing 30 year old legislation and presents the government with the opportunity to provide tenants with the security and affordability they have been demanding. Instead, as it stands, the legislation is more interested in protecting landlords from tenants.
Renovictions will continue and no serious action is being taken against illegal rent increases. Island tenants have been demanding serious action in the form of a public rent registry since the consultation phase of the act. They were even told they would be getting one by previous Social Development and Housing minister Brad Trivers.
When presented with an earlier draft of the act, PEIFAH made 27 suggestions for changes to make the act address the needs of tenants. The tabled act only included four of those suggestions and no progress has been made on the remaining 23 through the amendment process.
Instead of treating this legislation with the seriousness it deserves, it is being rushed through the legislature with little concern. We came to see the act being debated and there was a lack of care from members of all parties. One MLA fell asleep in his chair and another made sarcastic remarks about how “riveting” the debate is to a page.
The opposition failed to deliver amendments which would see the act meaningfully brought into line with tenants’ needs. Instead half-measures have been offered, poorly defended and quickly shot down.
Tenants are facing the brunt of the housing crisis. Subject to renoviction, repair neglect and illegal rent increases, Island renters cannot see this act as anything more than a bandage on a broken leg.
Until the concerns and suggestions of tenants are listened to and acted on, there will not be a solution to the affordable housing crisis.