New Brunswick housing providers are invited to share insight on their rental income streams and strains as part of a recently launched provincial review. Tenants, prospective developers and other stakeholder groups will also be consulted on their experiences in and expectations of the private rental housing market.
Comments and data gathered through the online surveys will help provincial analysts identify themes of concern and gain a more complete picture of how current market conditions affect social well-being, business viability and potential for new supply. During his 2021 budget speech, tabled in the New Brunswick legislative assembly last week, Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves called the review an effort “to better understand the housing issues facing New Brunswickers”, while also pledging $10.8 million for the provincial share of the Canada Housing Benefit.
“Living in a vibrant and sustainable community means being able to find safe and affordable housing. However, it is becoming all too common to hear about the lack of affordable housing and the growth in homelessness around our province,” Steeves said. “We will not wait for this review to be completed before acting.”
Participating landlords and property managers will be required to indicate the region or regions of the province where their holdings are located, but the remaining 10 questions are optional. These solicit details about portfolio size; unit types; percentage of subsidized units; rental rates; inclusion or exclusion of utilities in rent; timing of the most recent rent increases; and reasons for rent increases, which can be indicated on a multiple choice checklist.
A few questions also delve deeper — asking respondents to outline in up to 400 words how they determine the timing and the increment of rent increases, and to summarize their general experiences managing rental properties and enacting rent increases. All participants will remain anonymous, but quotes from their submissions may be used in the provincial report.
The tenant survey similarly asks for a mixture of short and longer answers about renters’ housing circumstances and affordability challenges, while developers are queried on their target markets — i.e. types of units, resident demographic and openness to affordable components — and asked for their perspective on the definition of affordability.
The online portal will open for submissions until April 7. The review is scheduled to be completed by May 10.