Trudeau proposes reforms for renters as housing crisis deepens

Plans would see rent payments count toward credit score

Trudeau proposes reforms for renters as housing crisis deepens

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled new measures aimed at boosting renters’ rights and improving their prospects of buying a home amid an ever-deepening national housing crisis.

The proposals, announced on Wednesday, would see on-time rental payments contribute towards an individual’s credit score when applying for a mortgage as well as giving tenants more rights in landlord disputes and protecting against so-called “renovictions.”

They mark the first of an expected flurry of housing-related announcements prior to the federal budget, scheduled for April 16, as the government bids to shore up lost support among younger Canadians and tackle the nation’s housing woes.

A government news release said the proposals were about “generational fairness – making sure millennials and Gen Z, who are most likely to rent, get a level playing field in the rental market.”

The new rules would see the Canadian Mortgage Charter amended to factor rent payments into credit scores, while $15 million has been earmarked for provincial legal aid organizations to protect tenants against so-called “bad landlords” and unfair rent payments.

Landlords would also be required to reveal a property’s pricing history under a new Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights, a measure the government said would allow renters to strike a fair deal on monthly payments.

Proposals arrive amid desperate times for Canadian renters

The cost of renting an apartment or home in Canada has spiked alarmingly in recent times, with a chronic shortage of supply contributing to the lowest national vacancy rate since that data tracking began in 1988.

The average rent for a two-bedroom purpose-built apartment jumped by 8% across the country in 2023, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a huge increase from the average yearly increase of 2.8% between 1990 and 2022.

Rental properties saw their average listing price surge to $2,196 in January, a 10% spike over the same time a year prior and 20% above asking prices in January 2020, just before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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