Landlords brace for battle over rent control

by Jennifer Paterson19 May 2015
Alberta residential landlords and investors say they are united in opposing any type of new strict rent controls that could be brought in by the new NDP government.

“The current 'fair playing field' for landlords in Alberta is one of the main reasons investors from other provinces and outside of Canada invest in Alberta over other places,” said Bill Blake, an investor and member of the Alberta Landlords Association (ALA)

“If there are strict new rent controls, Alberta will be viewed as a far less attractive place to invest and this will lead to less economic growth and less high-quality rental properties available.”

In the wake of Rachel Notley and her party’s election earlier this month, reporters have highlighted the premier-elect's comment to the Calgary Herald in October 2014; namely, her suggestion that rent control could be an option.

With oil prices down, many Alberta landlords are already having difficulty finding tenants and rents are already stabilized.
“There is no need for rent control now,” added Blake.

“If there is strict rent control put in, it will lead to less investment and when the Alberta economy picks up there will be few new places for new tenants.”

In Alberta, there is currently annual rent increases and landlords are required to provide proper legal notice to their tenants.

But capping annual increases, such is the practice in British Columbia and Ontario, could challenge some landlords looking to cover their expenses.

“Some landlords are worried that new rent controls will be just the 'tip of the iceberg' by the NDP government,” said Blake.

“Next could come policies such as making damage deposits illegal, security of tenancy (leases that end automatically go month-by-month if the tenants want to stay), making 'no pet' clauses illegal or making 'no smoking' policies unenforceable.”

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