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Housing minister won't put limit on rent increases

Nunavut should have a cap on annual rental increases, says Pat Angnakak, MLA for Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu.

She pressed Housing Minister Patterk Netser in the legislative assembly on Oct. 18 to include such a provision in the territory's Residential Tenancies Act, pointing out that British Columbia has a limit of 2.6 per cent on rental increases in 2020. Angnakak said a constituent recently approached her seeking help with a rent hike of between 15 and 20 per cent.

Patterk Netser, minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corporation, says he can't impose a cap on annual rental increases in the territory. photo courtesy Legislative Assembly

"I cannot do that," was Netser's response to putting a cap in place, but he said he wants to work with the House on addressing the rental scale.

"I have constituents who have come to me since becoming the minister of housing and they are complaining about the rents and I feel for them," said Netser, who acknowledged that some people remain on income assistance because the rent they pay is far cheaper than if they accept employment.

Angnakak said she wishes Netser would reconsider imposing a cap on rental increases. She also recognized that the rental market is "a complex area."

"Although we need to protect tenants from excessive and arbitrary rent increases, we also need to encourage private developers to build more affordable units to alleviate our housing shortage," she said.