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‘Problem solvers’ pitch tying rent to new industry index in the Yukon

Report proposes solutions, but public can still weigh in on Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
Apartments line a section of Lewes Boulevard on the evening of Feb. 1. The Yukon government is inviting Yukoners to give feedback as part of a review of the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

In the Yukon, there aren’t enough rental units to live in and rent prices keep going up for tenants.

With expenses rising and less control over rent, many landlords are leaving the market, which means fewer rentals are available.

That’s according to a report, recently released by the Yukon government, which proposes a solution: Create a made-in-Yukon industry index specific to residential rent that’s based on local housing costs and market rate and allow rent to go up to the industry index — or more, if tenants and landlords agree.

A core group of 11 Yukoners — dubbed the “problem solvers” — spent time this past fall identifying problems and testing solutions related to the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, according to the message from the Solutions Lab in its report dated Nov. 15, 2023.

The report was done with and for the territorial government. The report pitches other ideas intended to be discussed and examined further and supported by data.

Another proposed solution is to strike up a new rental assistance program to subsidize tenants in need, with conditions in place. For example, tenants must be residents of the territory for a minimum of one year.

Other ideas relate to simplifying tenancy agreements and promoting long-term planning and more.

The Yukoners in the core group are affiliated with things like property management and real estate and a variety of groups such as the Yukon Tenant Association, Yukon Residential Landlord Association, Safe at Home Society, Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition and Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce housing committee.

Backed by an advisory group and a task force from the territorial Community Services department, the core group met 17 times over seven weeks to come up with policy considerations when engaging the public during the Yukon government’s review of the act. The core group was tasked with developing relevant options for the act’s governance framework and for the Residential Tenancies Office, the independent regulator of residential tenancies, as a key tool in conflict resolution between tenants and landlords.

Some goals outlined in the summary report: a rental market with stabilized rent increases and supports for tenants and that allows for landlords to make changes to cover their costs; a more accountable, transparent and efficient Residential Tenancies Office; landlords, tenants and policy-makers to have a better understanding of the legislation and tenancy agreements and supports available to implement them properly, as well as better collection, availability and use of rental market data.

With the act under review, the Yukon government is now inviting input from landlords, tenants and the general public on the act and key issues affecting tenants, landlords and businesses.

The questions were informed by the Solutions Lab’s work, developed by government project leads and co-drafted by the Yukon Bureau of Statistics to check for bias and clarity.

The Yukon Bureau of Statistics is hosting the survey. Anonymous responses will be shared with the Community Services department.

An introduction to the survey notes changes to the act will involve removing the section that permits evictions without a specific reason. Feedback is being requested on other reasons to end a tenancy, rent control, mobile homes, roommates, the Residential Tenancies Office, short-term rentals and clarifying the act.

For example, one survey question provides reasons why a landlord can end a tenancy in many provinces and territories in Canada, then asks the respondent why they think a landlord should be able to end a tenancy.

Another similar question asks about tenants ending tenancies.

Other questions ask respondents whether they agree or disagree with scenarios.

Survey results will be released in a report later in 2024, while the government’s plan is to introduce the act in 2025, according to a Jan. 26 press release.

A review of the landlord and tenant act, as well as caps on rent hikes and banning no-cause evictions, are part of the confidence-and-supply agreement between the Yukon Liberal Party and Yukon NDP caucuses.

Meetings, including an online one that was held Feb. 1, are being run to collect more detailed feedback. An online meeting is scheduled via Zoom for 7 p.m. on Feb. 5. In-person meetings are being held in Haines Junction, Whitehorse, Watson Lake and Dawson City on select dates, per the website.

The Yukon government is hosting the online meetings while the in-person meetings will be hosted by consultant John Glynn-Morris and his team who conducted the Solutions Lab sessions, according to Bonnie Venton Ross, who works in communications for the Community Services department.

The survey can be filled out and submitted online or by mail.

The deadline to respond to the survey is Feb. 29.

The News originally reported the wrong date for the Feb. 5 meeting at 7 p.m. via Zoom. The News regrets the error.

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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