FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is endorsing all the recommendations proposed in the Review of the Rental Landscape in New Brunswick, in order to bring improvements across the entire rental system.

“The rental review confirmed gaps and opportunities for improvement in the rental system,” said Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch. “While the rental system is working for some, it is not working for all. We now want to work towards a balanced and responsive market, where tenants can secure affordable and accessible rental housing units, and landlords can profit from their investments.”

The review was produced by a cross-departmental team in response to the growing perception that rental rates within the province have unreasonably and unpredictably spiked during the pandemic.

“This was an objective and in-depth review of the rental landscape,” said Fitch. “We are pleased with the quality of the work, particularly that the go-forward opportunities laid out are concrete and actionable, and focused on addressing the system issues.”

An interdepartmental committee has been established to work on the recommendations with specific timelines in four fields of action:

Strengthen existing services

  • Improve access and assistance with tenancy matters through a revamped phone service – August 2021.
  • Redesign the Residential Tenancies Tribunal website and supporting processes – September 2021.
  • Identify and address barriers in the planning and development approval processes – September 2022.
  • Provide advocacy groups with the tools and information needed to help renters and vulnerable groups understand their rights – December 2021.

Increase the supply of rentals

  • Invest in a business plan for a provincial non-profit rural workforce housing development corporation – September 2021.
  • Leverage the provincial government inventory of land and buildings – August 2021.
  • Promote available tools to support rental units within existing residential development – September 2022.
  • Investigate additional tools such as inclusionary zoning – May 2022.

Review and revise the New Brunswick Residential Tenancies Act

  • Modernize the act and accompanying procedures to better meet the changing needs of tenants and landlords – December 2021.
  • Raise awareness of tenant and landlord rights and on ways to prevent discrimination – October 2021.

Increase future builders

  • Support and prioritize on-going recruitment initiative – March 2022.
  • Prioritize and provide resources for initiatives aimed at increasing the number of people in the skilled trades, locally and through immigration – July 2021.

“The important conclusion of the rental review was that there are no quick solutions to the situation and we believe that residential rental rates should continue to be set by market conditions in our province, while improvement is made to the entire rental system,” said Fitch. “The Residential Tenancies Act offers protection against retaliatory rent increases and there are provisions for the tribunal to review a notice of rent increase for long-term tenants. Our efforts to revamp the act will help improve protection for both tenants and landlords.”