After a year under P.E.I.’s Residential Tenancy Act, both tenants and landlords want changes

It’s been just over a year since P.E.I.’s Residential Tenancy Act came into force, and now both landlords and tenants are calling for changes to the legislation. The province’s housing minister has hinted that some amendments are likely to come in the fall, but it’s not clear what those could involve.

The long-awaited act was proclaimed in April 2023, but had been in the works since 2019. It replaced the 30-year-old Rental of Residential Properties Act. Among other things, the legislation capped yearly rent increases, extended the required notice period for so-called “renovictions” and imposed penalties of up to $10,000 on parties who break the rules.

One year later, though, the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission hasn’t issued a single fine under the act, despite findings that some landlords had illegally increased rents. It’s up to the director of residential property at IRAC to decide whether to issue a fine after the commission determines there’s been a breach of the Residential Tenancy Act.

During the spring sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature, the Green Party brought an example forward where a landlord had issued a rent increase that was determined to be illegal. After the tenants appealed it, they were evicted. The landlord was required to pay back the additional rent that it had collected, and at the time Housing Minister Rob Lantz said that was penalty enough under the circumstances.

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