Are Rental Pricing Controls Coming to Alberta?

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Some landlord groups have been caught by surprise by planned legislation that would set up an affordable housing committee in Alberta to make recommendations on everything from security deposits to rent subsidies and affordability. Bill 202 has support from the Service Alberta ministry and most government MLA’s.

The debate is mostly over landlords being able to raise rents by as much as they’d like on only three months notice. But are rental pricing controls coming to Alberta? Many government supporters of the bill have said that they are open to a variety of models, including the implementation of a cap on how much landlords can raise the rent; however, some landlords may take issue with rental regulation models.

Those against the bill say that the economy and markets dictate rents and affordability, not a panel or committee. They suggest that if you own a building you then have the right to charge whatever you want in terms of rent.

As of right now, landlords in Alberta can change the rent on their current tenants with 90 days of notice. If they don’t like the new agreement then they have three months to find a different place to live. Some say this is fair since the market and the landlord should dictate pricing. Others say that it is unfair to just up the rent on people to make more money.

The housing market in Alberta is still one of the strongest in Canada even though the downturn in the oil and gas fields has had some impact. Prices for a single family home are expensive, and seem very high to those living in other parts of the country.

This new bill is going to be tabled in the legislature at some point in the near future and it will likely change as the elected officials see fit. It has to pass before any committee can be set up and regardless of if it goes through it may give us insight unto the current housing market.

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