Landlords: We lose with meagre minimum wage hike

Landlords hoping to raise rents on the strength of a minimum wage increase in this province are headed for heartbreak, with advocacy groups arguing the 20 cent hike will do nothing to lift the spending power of low-income tenants.

Alberta's new floor for wages has now been set at $9.95 per hour, to take effect this month. The move is largely viewed as the result of years of lobbying, with landlords catering to the low end of the market generally supportive of the move as a way of bumping up rental values.

But community advocacy groups are arguing the 20 cent pay rise will effectively do nothing to fatten up the earnings of low-income Albertans nor will it keep pace with inflation.

been set at The new minimum wage set to take effect Sunday doesn’t come close to lifting many Albertans from the ranks of the working poor, one Alberta advocacy group said.

Public Interest Alberta pegs a true minimum wage of $15 an hour is needed to move a family out of poverty and spark the kind of across-the-board rental increases landlords say is needed to cover maintenance issues.

While the absence of provincial controls give landlords the lattitude to raise rents, many of those property investors say stagnant wages tie their hands.

"I think that a bigger increase would have been better for landlords, yes, but also the (quality of) the rental stock," Greg Verkhovyna, in Grande Prairie.

In Calgary, alone, 129,400 workers are earning less than $15 hourly.

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