By: Chelsea Perry
This morning, the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) approved rent increases for 2019, in line with the Rental of Residential Property Act.
The increases are as follows:
- 2.0% for premises heated with petroleum
- 1.75% for premises heated with electricity
- 1.5% for unheated premises and mobile home sites
This is the largest allowable rent increase the Island has seen in six years.
“I already pay a lot”, explains Iker Zulbaran, an international student in his third year of engineering. “With another rent increase, students will have to live further away from campus to find an affordable property. That means they’ll have to find another means of transport, which is just another expense.”
Zulbaran is not alone in his concern. Buzz Caravan, a fourth year, expressed unease about how students will be able to afford anything outside of their rent saying, “My friend’s roommate is living with nothing. They can pay their rent, but their house is empty.” Caravan also emphasized that she has so far been able to find housing due to having ties within the community, and believes her search would have been much less fruitful if she didn’t have those connections.
Will McGuigan, President of the UPEISU, appealed to the incoming Charlottetown council for action on what the PEI Green Party has coined “a crisis”:
“It’s upsetting to see these rent increases being put on the backs of students, but the bigger issues is the housing issues that is affecting students and all citizens of Charlottetown. People can’t even find a place to live in this city with the 0.9% vacancy. Moving forward we are hoping to see the next mayor of Charlottetown and council work on this issue.”
An employee from the university who was granted anonymity to preserve her professional career urged the public to write to IRAC, sharing their personal stories and concerns about the rent increases. “The Commission really only hears from landlords, and would benefit from hearing the voices of those affected.”
If you wish to write to IRAC regarding the approved increases, you can contact them at this address:
Prince Edward Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission
P.O. Box 577
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7L1