Yukon seeks feedback on rental standards

The Yukon government is consulting on proposed landlord tenant regulations and minimum rental standards.

The Yukon government is consulting on proposed landlord tenant regulations and minimum rental standards.

Kate White, the NDP Opposition housing critic, says she is concerned that the regulations do not protect tenants from unfair rent increases or evictions without cause.

She brought those concerns to the Yukon legislature when the new Landlord and Tenant Act was debated.

Under the act, which passed in 2012, landlords may only increase rental rates once a year, but there is no cap on increases.

Landlords are allowed to evict tenants with no cause so long as they give two months notice.

The regulations out for consultation now do not address those concerns, as they have already been determined by the act.

Instead, the proposed regulations are largely administrative, dealing with things like what must be included in tenancy agreements and the process for dispute resolution.

Also out for comment are a series of proposed minimum rental standards that outline the responsibilities of landlords and tenants to maintain a property.

White’s main concern with the proposed regulations has to do how the rules will apply to long-term hotel residents, she said.

The consultation document asks the public to comment on when a hotel resident should be considered a residential tenant.

One proposed option is to apply the regulations to anyone living at a hotel for at least six months. The document also suggests considering long-term hotel guests on a case-by-base basis.

White says that people living in hotels should be afforded more protection.

“We all know that in the winter time particularly there will be people who will live in the hotel for two or three or four months at a time, and that’s out of necessity, and I believe that they should have a certain level of protection. I don’t think that they should be able to be evicted within 24 hours.”

Only giving protection under the regulations to people living in a hotel for six months or longer is unacceptable, she said.

“We know examples where they have gotten one warning for noise, and then they have gotten evicted the next day, and then the money hasn’t been returned for the part of the month they weren’t able to stay in the hotel. So then what does someone do who has paid $1,200 a month to stay in a hotel and now they’ve been evicted?”

The government will accept comments on the proposed regulations and minimum rental standards through March 11.

The consultation document can be accessed and filled out online at the Yukon Community Services website.

Hard copies are available at community libraries and at the main Yukon government administration building.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com