December 1st, 2012
The government has introduced new rules for landlords. Did You Even Hear About It?
What’s Going On?
The government has changed the rules for landlords and tenants in Saskatchewan.
Why the Changes?
According to Gordon Wyant, the Minister of Justice, the rental market in Saskatchewan is tight with vacancy rates very low. His government believes the changes will protect tenants from big rent increases that occur within a short period of time.
What is the Vacancy Rate?
According to CMCH it’s less than 1% in Regina. However, CMCH doesn’t include unregistered private rental housing in their statistics. This means the vacancy rate is actually no where near less than 1%, it’s much higher.
So What Will Happen?
#1Beginning in April, 2013 landlords must inform their tenants if there will be a rent increase 3 months prior to a fixed term lease ending. The renters will have 1 month to reply to it.
#2 Also starting in April, 2013, the Office of Residential Tenancies will cover rent disputes for seniors in independent living facilities.
#3 The government has decided landlords who want to increase rent with only 6 months notice must become a member of an a particular landlord association (one which caters to large landlords).
If you are not a member, you have to give 1 years notice for a rent increase.
What’s Been the Reaction to the Changes?
Unsurprisingly, the NDP has called the changes a ‘Band-Aid solution’. Of course, the NDP would like to ban private landlords and only have government run housing.
What About the Reaction From Landlords?
We think the changes made by the government are generally acceptable. Far better than the NDP’s knee-jerk proposals to creating punishing rules for landlords which would decrease investment and force ‘good landlords’ to leave the market. The more the government interferes with the free market, fewer investment dollars will enter the market.
Is There Anything Really Bad With These Changes.
The government has made a mistake with forcing landlords to have to join a particular landlord association in order to raise rents in 6 months rather than a year. This is simply the creation of a new super bureaucracy. It won’t work and it’s undemocratic.
Is There Anything the Government Missed?
Yes. We are hearing more and more stories about bad tenants trashing houses and owing rent. There are bad tenants out there, just like in other provinces. We are not immune. The government has ignored this. Landlords need to screen their tenants very carefully and if you aren’t up to being a professional landlord you should hire someone who is.