Apartment owners warm to rent freeze in New Brunswick

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Apartment owners warm to rent freeze in New Brunswick
written by Kit Kadlec

While rent freezes are typically not welcomed by landlords, in New Brunswick, they broke with tradition Tuesday.

In a speech, Finance Minister Blaine Higgins revealed the decision to freeze rents in New Brunswick for three years, but on the condition of also reforming the tax system to benefit landlords.

Currently, landlords have had to pay municipal tax on the property, with an additional provincial tax if the property was a rental. That rental tax will now be eliminated.

Rents had been typically marked up to cover that difference.

Higgs said the Alward government is “delivering on a platform commitment to make the property tax system fairer and more effective for the long-term.”

According to the CMHC, New Brunswick rents were below the national average, at about $687 for a two bedroom unit last year. The vacancy rate of 4.8% was also one of the highest in the country.

But Willy Scholten of the New Brunswick Apartment Owners Association told CBC News this week that his group supported the elimination of “double-taxation,” and saw the rent freeze as a way to get money back to the tenants.

“Instead of having the annual increases that tenants are seeing because of costs continuing to go up, the tenants would see three years of a rent freeze,”

Scholton told CBC News. “So in effect, at the end of the day, the tenant would have that back in their pocket.”

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