Landlords must not bump up rent by more than five per cent as of May 15.
The change is based on a stipulation in the renewed confidence and supply agreement between the Yukon Liberal and NDP caucuses.
“As part of efforts to address housing pressures Yukoners are facing, the territory’s residential rent index has been updated,” reads a Feb. 3 release from the Yukon government.
Rent cannot be increased more than five per cent in years where the consumer price index for the previous calendar year was equal to or greater than five per cent. Rent cannot be increased more than two per cent when the consumer price index for the previous calendar year was less than two per cent.
The consumer price index was 6.8 per cent in 2022.
The Residential Tenancies Office has been hearing from Yukoners with questions about the rent index, as well as a ban on evictions without cause that also came in the latest iteration of the confidence deal.
Lars Hartling, the president of the Yukon Residential Landlords Association, said the association has been fielding calls from landlords, homeowners and tenants who feel failed by the Yukon government. Hartling said the changes to rules on evictions creates uncertainty in the market. He questioned whether the Yukon government could still consult with landlords in good faith.
In a letter to now-Premier Ranj Pillai, the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce said it did not support a ban on no-cause evictions.
In an email on the morning of Feb. 3, a spokesperson for Yukon government’s cabinet communications provided a response to concerns about the unintended implications of the no-cause eviction ban.
The response indicates all public engagements are done in good faith.
“We appreciate that the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce recognizes that housing affordability is a first-order priority for the entire territory,” reads the response.
“The territory’s housing challenges are complex and all levels of government, the private sector and non-governmental organizations need to work together to find solutions.”
The response highlights the government’s intention to launch a comprehensive review of the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act in 2023 that will include a “broad public engagement to ensure a modernized piece of legislation is meeting the needs of all Yukoners.”
“The Yukon has seen record investment in residential construction in recent years and through 40 completed funding partnerships, such as through the Housing Initiatives Fund,” the spokesperson said.
“We have also opened a total of 563 housing units since 2016, 324 of which are affordable. Many more units are in progress. Our government remains committed to working with partners to increase housing options for Yukoners.”
In the response, the government has heard from “a wide range” of voices including landlords, tenants, business owners, no-government organizations and individual Yukoners since residential rent indexing was introduced in 2021.
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org