Homelessness advocates want more protection for low-income renters
The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and Homelessness Network says more legislation needs to be in place to protect people — especially those less fortunate — when it comes to renting.
Director Kimberley Yetman Dawson said the Residential Tenancies Act hasn't been updated in 10 years, and therefore isn't reflective of the current economic times.
"We're seeing a lot of people who are being pushed out of the rental market and have to leave their communities, such as St. John's, because there's so much economic boom here right now," she said.
Yetman Dawson said she would like to see less discrimination in the act, and more rent control.
"Right now, bedsitters aren't reflected in the legislation, so there's really no regulation when it comes to rooming houses or bedsitters. So that's really our most vulnerable population. They're the people that have the least amount of money," she said.
"So we would definitely like to see the legislation include that."
Others need protection too
Yetman Dawson said there are other vulnerable groups that need to be protected.
"Landlords have the opportunity to pick and choose who they want to rent to, so they may not be so inclined to rent to students or someone that's on social assistance, or even someone that has a pet or children," she said. "So single moms sometimes cannot get a rental unit because the landlord has the opportunity to rent to a doctor, an engineer, or a teacher."
Service NL is holding public consultations on the west coast of the island today and Wednesday. The Newfoundland and Labrador Homelessness Network has been encouraging both tenants and landlords to attend the sessions and talk about their experiences.
"We don't want to see people living in squalor. We want to see healthy communities," she said.
Sessions continue across Newfoundland and Labrador until Nov. 1.