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What is Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights? Everything You Should Know About

Unaffordability in Canada has reached its peak. Millennials and GenZ have struggled with the idea of ever becoming homeowners because of rising inflation, exorbitant high real estate prices, and ever-increasing mortgage rates. Among all this, there’s a sliver of hope – Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights. 

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced this bill on March 27, 2024, which will be included in Budget 2024. It is a way to protect renters and help them become homeowners. Let’s talk more.

What is included in the Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights

  • Transparency in Rental Pricing: Landlords will be required to provide a clear history of rental pricing for their properties. This measure will give tenants, especially newcomers to Canada, better insights into the rental costs and help them negotiate fair rental agreements.
  • Credit for On-Time Rental Payments: In a groundbreaking move, on-time rental payments will soon be factored into tenants’ credit scores. This change, which will be implemented by amending the Canadian Mortgage Charter, aims to improve tenants’ creditworthiness and potentially lower the interest rates available to them when applying for mortgages.
  • Protection Against Renovictions: The Bill introduces penalties for renovictions, where landlords evict tenants under the pretence of needing to perform renovations, only to re-rent the property at a higher rate. The government will monitor this practice and penalise landlords that do that.
  • Standardised Lease Agreement: A nationwide standard lease agreement will be created to simplify the rental process and promote uniformity in tenant-landlord agreements across the country.
  • Tenant Protection Fund: A new $15 million Tenant Protection Fund will be established to support legal aid organisations that assist tenants in dealing with issues such as unfair rent increases and poor landlord practices.

First response from the public…. 

The introduction of the Renters’ Bill of Rights comes at a time when rental prices in Canada are soaring, particularly in major urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in these cities exceeds $2,500,  which is almost 70% of most renters’ monthly salary. However, response to the announcement has been mixed. While tenant advocacy groups have welcomed the move, they await more details on how these rights will be enforced. Landlords and property management groups are cautious but largely supportive and recognize the need for more structured regulations in the rental market.

Man and a woman figures sitting on coins under a wooden house figure.

This bill is one of the Canadian government’s many efforts to give millennials and GenZ a level playing field. Some other initiatives include: 

1. Apartment Construction Loan Initiative

Through this program, the government invests $40 billion to catalyse the construction of new rental units through low-interest loans to developers. Since its inception in 2017, this initiative has allocated over $17 billion to support the construction of nearly 48,000 rental units. By the fiscal year 2031-32, it is projected to help in building approximately 101,000 new rental homes across Canada. 

2. Affordable Housing Fund

With over $14 billion in funding, this initiative supports the development of both market-rate, emergency shelters, homeless shelters, and subsidised rental housing, along with the refurbishment of existing properties. By the end of 2023, the fund had committed more than $8 billion, which contributed to the renovation of over 150,000 housing units and the construction of an additional 32,000 new units. 

3. Housing Accelerator Fund

This $4 billion fund is designed to encourage municipalities to make substantial changes that facilitate housing construction, such as amending restrictive zoning laws. To date, the government has entered into 179 agreements under this fund, which are expected to accelerate the development of approximately 750,000 housing units nationwide over the next ten years.

4. Rapid Housing Initiative

Through this initiative, the government will spend $4 billion to expedite the creation of 15,500 affordable housing units by 2026 for Canadians facing homelessness or severe housing insecurity. It also focuses on acquiring and converting existing buildings into permanent affordable housing, prioritising groups such as those at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness, survivors of domestic violence, seniors, Indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities.

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