Territory is soft on tenants’ rights: NDP

The NDP Opposition is criticizing the government for not protecting tenants from price-gouging and without-cause evictions with its revamped Landlord and Tenant Act. The new act was tabled in the legislature on Nov. 1.

The NDP Opposition is criticizing the government for not protecting tenants from price-gouging and without-cause evictions with its revamped Landlord and Tenant Act.

The new act was tabled in the legislature on Nov. 1.

A public consultation was conducted this summer on proposed changes. Yet the feedback provided by more than 200 Yukoners only went online last week. The NDP had asked the territory to release this information numerous times, beginning on Nov. 5.

At first, Community Services Minister Elaine Taylor avoided the question.

“I just want to point out that the act that I tabled in the legislature just days ago actually reflects the comments that were received by the Select Committee on the Landlord and Tenant Act,” said Taylor on Nov. 8.

NDP members called on the government twice more to release the comments.

On Nov. 19, Taylor confirmed that her department was in possession of the comments and that they would be released on the Community Services website “in short order.”

Feedback from over 200 Yukoners went up online on Nov. 21.

The government announced that debate would begin on the act the following day, leaving opposition members little time to review submissions.

The feedback forms do show that some Yukoners are concerned with uncontrolled rent increases and without-cause evictions.

Many mentioned these issues in their comments, despite the fact that they were not asked about them directly.

When Taylor says that the proposed act reflects public comments, it is perhaps more accurate to say that it reflects the design of the questionnaire used to solicit those comments.

The questions on rental increases ask, “Should rental increases be limited to once a year?” and “Is three months the right amount of notice for rent increases?”

The respondent in each case could choose to answer “Yes” or “No,” with space for comments.

Certainly the feedback shows that Yukoners support these two proposals, and as such they have been included in the proposed legislation.

But most of those who commented asked for some kind of cap on rental increases, despite not having been asked directly if they would support one.

Similarly, the question referring to without-cause evictions asks, “What should the timeline be for a landlord to provide notice of termination without cause for a monthly tenancy?”

Options for responses are one month, two months, three months or other.

Despite not being asked, many respondents pointed out that they do not support without-cause evictions.

All jurisdictions in Canada apart from Yukon and New Brunswick require landlords to give a reason for terminating a tenancy.

The possible reasons include that they or a family member want to occupy the space, or that they have renovations planned. Some jurisdictions offer different timelines for different reasons.

Allowing terminations without cause would permit evictions based on the landlord’s prejudice or the tenant’s willingness to assert their rights, the NDP say.

When the NDP brought up these issues in front of the legislature, Taylor assured them that the new act serves to balance the rights of landlords and tenants.

“I’m finding a disturbing trend here by the members of the opposition and that is by their ability to cherry-pick certain specific submissions put forth by Yukoners and not telling the complete story,” said Taylor.

The NDP retaliated by accusing the government of consulting in bad faith.

“Engaging with the public is one thing, but using consultation to justify predetermined outcomes is quite another,” said MLA Kate White.

Debate on the act will continue.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. On Nov. 24, Silver and Hanley announced masks will be mandatory in public places as of Dec. 1, and encouraged Yukoners to begin wearing masks immediately. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read