Whitehorse Daily Star

Caps announcement leads to ‘mass confusion and no leadership’: realtor

The Yukon Party will launch a public consultation on the rent control policy announced by the territorial government.

By Tim Giilck on May 10, 2021

The Yukon Party will launch a public consultation on the rent control policy announced by the territorial government.

The official Opposition says the policy has created chaos, uncertainty and hardship for both tenants and landlords.

The policy is part of the two-year accord the NDP has negotiated with the Yukon Liberals to allow its minority government to function with some sense of stability until at least early 2023.

It’s only one of many add-ons the NDP has persuaded the Liberals to adopt in exchange for the support of the NDP.

The policy was to be implemented on May 15 – although there has been no public consultation and very little information released.

It calls for capping rent increases to one per cent this year, beginning May 15, and to limit the cap based on the rate of inflation going forward.

According to party leader Currie Dixon, Yukon Party MLAs have heard extensively from concerned landlords who are fearing for both their short- and long-term financial situations.

They have also heard from tenants who fear they will be displaced or have already experienced dramatic rent increases.

“Despite this policy never having been announced formally, both landlords and tenants have been reacting to it as it was one of the key policies that underpins the Liberal-NDP coalition agreement and will supposedly come into force on May 15,” Dixon stated in a news release.

“The Yukon Party has heard accounts of tenants subjected to last-minute rent increases and even eviction notices, as well as landlords putting rental units up for sale or looking at converting them to condos.

“All of this is the result of the spectre of the ill-considered and poorly communicated policy from the Liberal-NDP coalition.”

In response to this chaotic situation, the Yukon Party is launching a public consultation so that rental tenants, landlords, and other affected Yukoners can inform the legislature about the impacts of this policy.

“This is being done because the Liberal-NDP coalition announced their policy and implementation date with no consultation at all.”

During an interview with the Star on Friday, Dixon doubled down on those points.

“It hasn’t been formally announced yet,” he said, referring to the rent cap.

“There’s a lot of chaos that’s been created by this. It’s creating pandemonium, it’s a big issue and we absolutely think it needs to be reconsidered.”

“You can’t sink a landlord without sinking its tenants too,” added Whitehorse real estate agent Jacklyn Stockstill. Her comments were provided in the release from the Yukon Party.

“As a result of this announcement, hundreds of tenants were given rental increases or notices to vacate as landlords scramble to bring their under-market prices up to the current market prices,” she said.

“The vast majority of these landlords were nowhere near market rates, and were not planning increases or at the very least were planning modest increases.

“Now there is a massive rush as rents will be frozen where they are with a one per cent increase allowed per year.”

Stockstill said that will force many landlords to reconsider their options and potentially take rental units off the market.

“We need more rentals, not less,” she said. “With no vacancies, there’s nowhere for all these tenants to go.”

She said the announcement led to “mass confusion and no leadership.”

Marc Perrault, the president of the Yukon Real Estate Association, said he believes there was a pressing need for more consultation.

He said he’s been hearing “quite a few complaints” about the process from landlords and tenants alike.

“Landlords are concerned,” he said. “People are concerned.”

Perrault said he too has heard of landlords racing to raise their rents or looking into selling their properties.

That’s going to put further stress on the over-taxed market in the Yukon, especially Whitehorse, from operators who are already working on a razor-thin profit margin.

“What we need is more consultation and for the government to clarify the rules of how this is going to work,” Perrault said.

Comments (42)

Up 0 Down 0

JustSayin on May 17, 2021 at 12:54 am

@community gal
So true. The landlords (YG) of the shelter downtown sure are instilling confidence in the policies they attempt to implement. Maybe they should clean their own backyard first.

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Oya on May 16, 2021 at 9:44 am

@ Juniper Jackson - Landlords did NOT bring this upon themselves. This is the result of how many governments over the last 10 or 15 years FAILING to address housing issues that have been on the election plate forever. What happened to all that Federal Housing money we got? Please put the blame where it belongs: On the Yukon Government for the issues that affect the whole Yukon and on the City of Whitehorse AND the Yukon Government for the Whitehorse rental sh**-show.
The issue is supply vs. demand. No ifs, ands or buts about it. More supply equals cheaper rent. Period.

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Community Gal on May 15, 2021 at 10:30 pm

I have been a landlord for over 30 years. In that time I always charged less than market rates and generally rented to families with pets. In all those years, I raised the rent once (10%) on exactly one set of tenants. Between the Yukon Residential Tenancy Office and Kate White's policy of rental caps, I am done with being demonized for a rental and realty market that is insane. I'm out. Sold both rental units. Too much government interference for a barely break even venture.
I have donated hundreds of free labour hours to my units over the years. I don't mind the tenants but won't stand for having government breathing down my neck, dictating my bottom line and taking away my only remedies for dealing with bad tenants. This rental cap was the final straw.
If government knows so much about being landlords, why is the downtown shelter such a godforsaken disaster? If landlords just rake in the dough, why does government have a waiting list for housing with hundreds of names on it? How about publishing rents and costs for government housing and let's see if you can balance your own books.

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Jim on May 15, 2021 at 10:55 am

@Patti Eyre, wait for the details? Let’s see, they announced a date, they announced an amount, they announced a 2 year time frame. Another well thought out policy by the same idiots, plus one. During the election Liberals were quite adamant that rent cap policy is flawed. But now it’s aOK. Anybody that thinks they can trust this coalition is like an ostrich with their head in the sand. Silver is simply in survivor mode and will flip flop to keep his little empire afloat. The only happy Yukoners will be the NDP and supporters. Well played Kate, for now.

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jason on May 14, 2021 at 12:02 pm

Maybe the territory could, you know, regulate realtors effectively? They are a part of this rent problem, telling prospective buyers that you need to offer "well over asking" in this "hot market". Realtors are pumping up prices for their own benefit. Capping rent is not the solution, although it sounds good politically. What will bring the prices down is building lower priced rental housing and bringing that on the market.

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Jim on May 13, 2021 at 8:18 pm

Maybe if Kate wanted to really help renters she would use her new found power to change the passive income law. Everyone is all mad at the landlords but fail to blame the government who basically split the rent profit with the landlords. This was a gum flapping election promise that now has to be implemented as a negotiated power deal as there wasn’t much else on Kate’s wish list. Much like the $15 minimum wage and drug house. No costing, no consultation, as they were just hoping to grab a few votes. An election win wasn’t even in Kate’s thoughts. This was like a dream come true for her. A nightmare for the rest of us.

Up 3 Down 5

TheHammer on May 13, 2021 at 5:47 pm

To everyone on the comments page, I don't mean to be offensive: But what do your shallow off the wall, half wit comments have to do with King Arthur and his sleeping warriors.?

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DA on May 13, 2021 at 9:24 am

NeilAlexGeddy, I think "Mr Facts" is arguing that a landlord shouldn't need to increase rent if property values go up, as landlords with expensive properties can afford to keep rent low.

I would disagree with this, as a landlord can't use the value of his property to cover his expenses: property tax, insurance, utilities, repairs, renovations, damages, etc...

Up 30 Down 7

New Landlord on May 13, 2021 at 8:02 am

OOf it looks like they are looking for ways to make the market worse. Looks like I have to charge the highest possible rate for my new rental.

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motive unclear on May 12, 2021 at 6:47 pm

This is going to be so much fun! Actual inflation is hammering in around 10 percent rather than the misreported cpi of 2 percent. The cap on raises for civil servants will be held at 1 percent as well? Didn't think so. My units are off the market and I certainly will not be building more in the near future. Lots of you think: yeah let's stick it to the landlords! Let's kill the greedy businesses. You don't get it do you? Where will you live? What will you eat? Your goobermint money? Bet it will taste good with virtual ketchup... yum yum...
We are about 80 percent of the way on the path to full on communism and nearly no one understands that.

Up 7 Down 31

Patti Eyre on May 12, 2021 at 1:47 pm

Joe are you saying you rushed to provide notices of rent increase to your tenants based on a loose announcement from government with no detail and no requirement to do so? You're basically running a business and if this is how you operate, I hate to say it, but that is just naive to the core. Wait for some detail before the sky falls, I will pray for you and your tenants who now have to pay more because of your actions and yours alone!

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KC on May 12, 2021 at 1:06 pm

@Juniper Jackson - And what those places that implement rent controls tend to find is that while it provides some relief for existing tenant's they actually harm the creation of new rental stock which is what Whitehorse sorely needs.

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Woodcutter on May 12, 2021 at 12:22 pm

Omg Juniper, your actually a socialist advocating for rent control. Who would of thought?

Up 27 Down 11

Joe on May 11, 2021 at 10:36 pm

@ Steve...what she said was “ hundreds of tenants were given rental increases” and seeing I am one person and I have given that exact notice to three of my tenants, it’s pretty safe to assume there were hundreds of notices given.

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NeilAlexGeddy on May 11, 2021 at 8:50 pm

@Mr Facts
"With the ridiculous increase in property values, rents should be going down, not up."
How does that work?

Up 13 Down 20

Patti Eyre on May 11, 2021 at 8:31 pm

I don’t know Steve but his comments are right on the mark, and who is Stockstill to talk about leadership? Stick to selling houses, unless you’re a landlord, which you must be otherwise why get involved and in touch with the paper?

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Woodcutter on May 11, 2021 at 8:27 pm

Lol..right out the block Currie is gonna have a consultation on the rental issue. No thanks I will wait until the folks that actually can do something about it do theirs.
Rents haven't been more outrageous and Mr. P refers to this as putting stress on an overtaxed market, um sorry there buddy, but the markets already past the stressed and if any operator can't make things work at $2,800 month for a small house, then they are the issue.

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Juniper Jackson on May 11, 2021 at 4:36 pm

Landlords have brought this on themselves. $950 and up for a room in someone's house? I have seen a house rental for $3,200 a month. The trailer parks. The pad rents went up $300 a month in the years I was living in one. My monthly income did not go up $300 a month. Say, $200 trailers at $550 a month, or a low of $450 a month, 2.5 employees? Don't even try to tell me these landlords are suffering. A trailer court in Whitehorse is a cash cow. Someone? Anyone post here that their employer said, "I see rents have been jacked up again, there will be an extra $20 a month in your paycheck to help cover that." Those folks on limited incomes, seniors, disabled, they are screwed. Most can't go get a second job, though I know a couple of 80 year olds out there working their butts off. (Raves to PC Super A).

Every province has some kind of rent control. No matter what solution anyone comes up with, the Landlords are not going to like it. Some years ago I attended a meeting at the Westmark to discuss rent controls and some guy from Riverdale yelled..yes..yelled, "you try to tell me what I can charge for my buildings, I'm going to tear them down, put everyone out, and build condos. So, the gov backed off and I believe that gentleman tore his apt building down and built condos anyway.

Look at this issue from both sides. The only thing I am sure of, is there are more people looking than there is housing for them. Why?
Why are you coming here if you don't have a place to live?

Up 30 Down 60

Mr Facts on May 11, 2021 at 3:06 pm

Boo hoo for landlords. Your investments have gone up how much? The majority of landlords up here are cheap and whine and moan when repairs are needed or something has to be replaced. The real losers are renters who are just trying to afford ever increasing rents. The vast majority of landlords view renters as their little cash cows. With the ridiculous increase in property values, rents should be going down, not up.

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TheHammer on May 11, 2021 at 3:00 pm

This is a clear cut case of robber barons and the forces of darkness. King Arthur and his Knights are sleeping in the hollow hills guarded by two giant eagles. Any one who enters the hill by the secret door will enter a corridor, at the end there is a fire burning without fuel. There's a table and on the table, a sword, a garter, and a horn. Beyond the table Arthur and his Knights sleep in a chamber crafted by Fairies and Dwarfs. Draw the sword, cut the garter, and blow the horn, and Arthur and his knights will ride out to save the land, for the land and the king are one.

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Oya on May 11, 2021 at 1:41 pm

I think it's a good idea to remember Kate White is NOT the Premier.

Up 28 Down 4

Oya on May 11, 2021 at 1:39 pm

@ Wilf Sorry, you're wrong. A one-year lease does not expire so that you can increase the rental rate. A landlord still needs to give three months notice to increase the rent on a yearly lease and the lease automatically renews. What you are talking about (I think) is a FIXED lease where the end date is identified and the tenant must move out on that date. It's always a good thing to get the facts straight if you're advising people.

Up 16 Down 26

steve on May 11, 2021 at 12:26 pm

I find it interesting everyone is always pointing out the negative and no one is coming up with alternatives. The one thing I always tell my employees is if you come to me with a problem you had better come with possible alternatives. It's easy for people to criticize when they don't put forward solutions.

First I would never trust anything coming out of a realtors mouth. Can the realtor who quoted hundreds of tenants and landlords selling up show the list? If a person bought a home to rent out and they maxed themselves to do it with these low interest rates that is a huge mistake.

Second why under the YP government was not a whole bunch of land opened up and tax credits given to developers to create rental properties? It's nice for the YP to cry foul when they did nothing to fix the problem when they were in power. It was backroom deals which did not benefit Yukoners. All those parties do it - sheeesh.

Each time the minimum wage has been increased you hear the same thing. People will be laid off, etc. and it never really happens. The market corrects and things go on.

I find it very interesting people are screaming about a 15 minimum wage but during the late 80s and 90s when the baby boomers were in power they were getting large pay increase and in some cases double digit pay raise and no one was screaming then. Guess it was good for you boomers then but hell no now for others now.

So instead of pointing the finger and saying the sky is falling how about a novel idea. Come up with some suggested solutions for the problems. Maybe no tax for low income earners, plug tax loop holes (at a Federal and provincial/territorial level) on those paying little or no taxes at the upper end of the scale to offset the tax break. As to the housing issue why not demanding from ALL parties opening up more land to allow more housing and giving tax breaks for developers creating rental units.

Those are two solutions and I know there are more. So next time before you post why not say hey this a problem and here are alternative solutions. Instead of just pointing out the problem help create solutions. So if you want to send the Liberals, NPD and YP an email give them suggestions on how to fix the problems.

Up 15 Down 12

Wilf Carter on May 11, 2021 at 12:09 pm

One way around this is just to get tenants to sign one year lease then when to lease is up it start of new tenant lease and set the rental rate at what you need .

Up 65 Down 3

SH on May 11, 2021 at 10:14 am

Are expenses related to insurance, property tax, electric, and city utilities going to be limited to a 1% increase this year?

Up 44 Down 6

KC on May 11, 2021 at 9:45 am

I don't think I would engage in a panic sell, but this ill considered policy is certainly cause to consider divesting from the Yukon rental market.

I have been wrong in the past but I don't expect the kind of rapid housing prices we have seen to continue much longer. If the market stops appreciating, that leaves the income you derive from the rental which -- unlike government pensions and RRSPs -- isn't tax deferred so you're paying tax at your marginal rate using money you often don't have. When you go to sell you will pay capital gains and it seems likely that the feds will eye up that 50% inclusion rate as a way to pay for pandemic spending. Add in the headaches of being a landlord (repairs and maintenance, the risk of bad tenants) and it just doesn't seem worth it with the rate of return.

Now the economic illiterates in the NDP who view the world as a set of simplistic power dynamics have set their eyes on further limiting your return. Of course most of their key supporters have generous government pensions and don't really care about those few folks in the Yukon who make their living in the private sector who have parked their modest savings in rental stock.

Oh well. All that capital will flow outside the territory to registered investments and the rental stock will decline further. At least it will relieve some pressure on the purchase market while doing nothing for tenants.
It is unfortunate that a party that got 28% of the vote gets to exercise this kind of clout. It is too bad that the Yukon Party and Yukon Liberals can't work together.

Up 27 Down 3

Eric Blair on May 11, 2021 at 9:39 am

Golly, rent caps sure sounded good as a sound bite in the media.
I recall Liz Hansen made a motion in the Legislature to permit reverse mortages in the Yukon- why not work on making that happen before dealing with the hard to achieve items?

Up 10 Down 19

BnR on May 11, 2021 at 8:24 am

I'm feeling really bad for the realtors.....

Up 50 Down 5

Moose101 on May 11, 2021 at 6:51 am

You think you had a crisis before - Kate you have to consult with owners not just renters before making knee jerk decisions .

Up 42 Down 4

iBrian on May 11, 2021 at 5:16 am

I don’t see how they can control rental rates. What happens if you mortgage term is up for renewal and when you resign your rate goes up $450 a month. Does that mean as a investment property owner I have to swallow the loss?

Up 15 Down 32

Atom on May 11, 2021 at 1:04 am

Oh my god we're listening to realtors now!
.....100's...pandemonia!...is this all coming from the same 'hotline' as the YP boys?

Up 39 Down 2

Salt on May 10, 2021 at 10:21 pm

Hardly a problem in the Yukon that government hasn’t created or made significantly worse through their action. All parts of the political spectrum have a share of the blame. They’ve completely unbalanced the real estate market by restricting development, incentivizing immigration and bloated gov salaries. Then they pretend to do something by creating a handful of ‘rent controlled’ apartments. Rent controlled meaning slightly less than current gov inflated prices. The same idiocy will be/is applied to wages, education, spending, health, etc. It is not a coincidence, the poor state of affairs and the fact that there is no party that thinks the government should have less influence/power. The parasite class has completely co-opted the body politic.

Up 38 Down 6

politics on May 10, 2021 at 9:27 pm

You *know* pragmatic Liberals like Ranj, Richard, Nils and Tracy know better than this terrible policy. I wonder how they feel about selling off their governing ability to stay in power.

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Good Intention, Bad Policy on May 10, 2021 at 8:52 pm

I think the NDP had good intentions when they managed to secure this rent cap from the Liberals who have always opposed it, but in the end it will have the opposite affect from what they were hoping for. This policy will result in much fewer rentals being available in Whitehorse and some people will be forced to leave the territory as a result. They will simply have nowhere else to go. Also, (and I can testify to this since my rent was just raised a few days ago) rents will be raised every single year to the maximum allowed so that landlords can protect themselves from future increases to all sorts of things out of their control. It will also mean landlords will have less money to put into upkeeping their units and so the quality of our rental stock, which already isn't great, will go lower and lower. We will end up with stereotypical ghettos downtown. This might sound 'over-the-top' but just wait and see a few years down the road.

So keeping all of this in mind, I encourage everyone who is evicted or has their rent raised on them to let Kate White and the NDP know what has happened. The Liberals would probably be happy to reverse this policy given their history so we just need to get through to Kate White just how damaging this policy is. I can't see any other way around this. So please either email or phone (or both) Kate White and the NDP and ask them to reverse their position.

Email: yukon@ndp.ca
Phone 668-2203 (NDP office)
Standard Mail: P.O. Box 31516, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 6K8.

Please pass the word on and let's show them the sheer number of people and families who are being negatively impacted by this rent cap policy!

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Mad Trapper of Riverdale on May 10, 2021 at 7:19 pm

Too bad Sandy was a math teacher and not a history teacher. Rent caps reliably create less housing. For example I am turning my rental suite into an AIr B & B now.

This left wing coalition nobody voted for is off to a predictably bad start.

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Patti Eyre on May 10, 2021 at 6:55 pm

This is good for a laugh! The realtors around the territory are the biggest landlords around, so no wonder they are using their considerable influence to force Dixon into this. Realtors get first notice of property and buy before they get listed, all the old time realtors did this and it’s helped created a massive wealth for a few people, it’s really sad to see what is happening and how Dixon is being manipulated like that. The bible speaks to many trials and tribulations, and offers hope, even for those who cast the first stone, I will pray for them!

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Jacklyn Stockstill on May 10, 2021 at 6:12 pm

Hi, to be clear this response has been due to the manner these caps have been announced publicly not the actual cap increases themselves. This announcement was made public with zero policy or details available. That led to the confusion and therefore all the notices being given. We need more housing.

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Wilf Carter on May 10, 2021 at 5:20 pm

With City taxes and services going up each year, insurance, heating fuel, energy up by 18%, how does a land lord ride those out? Changes the taxes on lower income workers will help them. Driving up min wage has made the cost of goods go up and does not help lower income workers at all, they end up in the same boat. I talked to a lot of land lords too and they are selling out. Had enough BS from NDP and Liberals. Don't have a clue what they are doing as far as policy goes. We are short 1500 to 1800 housing units now and we don't have enough lots to build them or contractors or trades because of governments messing it all up. This holds back economic development.

Up 79 Down 26

Pierre on May 10, 2021 at 4:24 pm

@Johnson...good for you that you can charge below market value...I doubt most landlords are in your position. The only thing we will be riding out is the ridiculousness known as the present liberal NDP back stab.

Up 43 Down 61

Johnson on May 10, 2021 at 3:54 pm

Bunch of greedy fools, selling units off in a panic. Real estate is a long term game, and any investor worth a dime knows you ride out the waves. Wait for the regs to come and deal with as necessary.

I'm a landlord charging hundreds below market and I won't be increasing anything.

Up 129 Down 14

Yukoner on May 10, 2021 at 3:37 pm

How about a cap on real estate fees while we're at it.

Up 66 Down 26

Max Mack on May 10, 2021 at 3:21 pm

While you're at it, add consultation re: the proposed minimum wage of $15.

So far, I've seen next to no detailed, objective analysis of minimum wages. All I've seen are claims about how "a family of four needs to earn this much" to get by, and how the current minimum wage doesn't satisfy that test. Those claims are being made by a biased "anti-poverty" group, which raises serious questions about the validity of those claims.

Who is earning minimum wage? How many people are affected? How many hours per week? How many weeks per year? For how many years? What is their living situation? Age distribution? Students? Unskilled? Recent job entrants or re-entrants? What kinds of occupations? Industries? What is the hourly wage distribution of workers in the Yukon?

What will happen to all the people who are currently earning $15 per hour, or are just above $15 per hour? Do they all get a salary bump?
How much will this affect our cost-of-living? On top of the other cost-drivers currently in play (covid-induced supply issues, carbon taxes, clean fuel standard tax, etc).

How many workers will see reductions in their hours by a jump in the minimum wage to $15 per hour? How many workers will simply be laid off?

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