Tenants in an apartment building in western Labrador are reeling over big increases in rent, and there's nothing to stop landlords from doing so.

Nancy Bonnell and her fiancé live in a 23-unit building in Labrador City that was recently purchased by a new company.

She said she expected their rent would go up. But when she read the letter from the building's new owner about how much it would increase, she said she started to cry.

"Now we're paying $900 [a month] for a two-bedroom apartment, and in February our rent is going up to $2,000," she said.

Bonnell said finding the extra $1,100 a month will mean some drastic changes.

"Our cable's been cut down, I barely use my phone. Internet – that probably has to go," she said.

"We don't go to restaurants. We don't do anything, anything that costs [money]."

Seeking rent control

Bonnell said she wants the provincial government to bring in rent control regulations so others won't have to face a similar situation.

Noreen Careen, co-chair of the Labrador West Housing and Homelessness Coalition, said she has been pushing for new legislation. She said her group made the point before a government review panel when it visited Labrador West in October.

"People are suffering right now in our communities," Careen said. "We're putting many people at risk of homelessness, and I think it's very unfortunate that we're beginning to become a community that people have to leave because they cannot afford to live here."