Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon

Yukon Party, minister spar over rent cap plan

It can be difficult to discourage the Yukon Party once it has an issue in its teeth.

By Tim Giilck on May 14, 2021

It can be difficult to discourage the Yukon Party once it has an issue in its teeth.

On Thursday, the party again tried to introduce an urgent motion calling on the government to defer its plan to bring in a rent cap effective tomorrow.

The party did the same thing the previous day, only to have the attempt shot down.

It faced the same result on Thursday, prompting more comment and posturing from party leader Currie Dixon.

“This is a matter of urgency. It is certainly urgent and pressing,” he said.

“It’s even more urgent and pressing than yesterday. We are now less than 36 hours from the policy coming into force.

“This policy was announced by the Liberal-NDP coalition agreement several weeks ago, but there has been a complete absence of communication since then. It is clear that the government does not have a plan for this policy.

“This lack of planning, lack of consultation, and lack of communication has caused immense hardship throughout the communities,” Dixon added.

“Housing is an important issue throughout the Yukon, and the negative impacts that this policy has had on the housing market have made this even more pressing and urgent.”

Dixon said, “Yesterday I asked a very simple question about the Liberals’ plan to impose rent controls in the Yukon. The minister was unable to answer.

“Earlier this week, the NDP leader pointed the finger and told the media that she is still waiting for the government to figure out how it is going to work.

“So, I want to give the coalition another chance to explain their policy. Can anyone tell Yukoners what policy or regulation is going to be used to bring this policy into force?”

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn rebutted Dixon’s questions with, “had the Leader of the Official Opposition been listening to the radio (Thursday) morning, he would have heard answers to many of his questions. There is a communications policy.

“The bottom line is that we have an agreement with our colleagues across the aisle in the New Democratic caucus. We have reached a confidence and supply agreement with our colleagues.

“That agreement was posted publicly about a month ago. It lays out the terms of the deal that we struck with our colleagues. The bottom line is that part of that deal includes a rent cap.

“We have a number of housing initiatives that we are championing,” Mostyn added.

“In the aftermath of the election, Yukoners were very clear. They wanted us to work together. We reached out to the Yukon Party. We reached out to the NDP, and it was the NDP that said, ‘yes, we are going to provide a stable government for Yukoners in the face of our recovery efforts out of COVID, in the face of the pandemic.’”

The Liberals appreciate that offer of support, Mostyn added.

“So, we struck the agreement. One of the things that the New Democratic caucus wanted us to fulfill was a rent cap. That was something that was very important to them, and we are going to live by the terms of the agreement.”

Comments (37)

Up 0 Down 0

motive unclear on May 21, 2021 at 7:23 am

The great flaw in marxist thinking is that people will naturally work for the good of total strangers without reward to themselves or those in their care.

Up 2 Down 3

Oya on May 20, 2021 at 11:52 am

@ Al Your comments reflect the true reality of the situation. Keep 'em coming!

Up 5 Down 14

Atom on May 19, 2021 at 8:18 am

Oh Al. Why all the drama? Please be sure and try to deal in facts. Landlords are gonna be alright....Makes for a good show that's for sure, well done......please limit your text to under a thousand words or just be illegible like Wilf your party clicker coordinator.

Up 20 Down 5

At home in the Yukon on May 18, 2021 at 3:28 pm

Hmmm, we haven't any places to rent, and the places that exist are too expensive. Making rent cheaper isn't going to motivate would-be landlords to build out that suite and become micro-landlords. Making rent cheaper and less flexible isn't going to motivate a development company to build an apartment block here instead of elsewhere. There is insufficient rental housing in Whitehorse; making the environment less attractive to landlords.

Up 10 Down 16

Patti Eyre on May 18, 2021 at 8:57 am

Al that was a good one! But agnosticisms means the diving or God or another hidden supernatural power is unknown, but that doesn't exclude prayer, so I will still pray for you to regain contact with reality!

Up 12 Down 9

Al on May 17, 2021 at 4:19 pm

Please don't pray for me I am agnostic..

Up 12 Down 15

Patti Eyre on May 17, 2021 at 2:54 pm

Give it a rest. It is sickening you spewing your socialism in a slow but steady stream. Give your head a shake and try and somehow regain contact with reality. I don’t know how or if that’s possible, but I will pray for you!

Up 28 Down 9

Al on May 17, 2021 at 1:47 pm

Part II to my note of 16 May on the new regulations:

I really find this whole process rather distasteful and underhanded. No press release, no info provided to the print media on Friday for the newspapers that day, nothing appears to be released to the radio media on Friday. The whole thing concocted behind closed doors between Premiers White & Silver.

They misnamed the regulation - it should read "Screw the Landlord", because that is exactly what it does. To rub more salt into the wound is making it retroactive and covering at minimum a two year period.

Then there is the audacious comment at the bottom:
"Will you consider further changes to better support landlords?

During the next 20 months, we’ll work with all stakeholders to look at options and evaluate how best to proceed."

Sure you will - just like you did now. How can you even begin to hold your head high ? The process alone doesn't just suck, it smacks of folding like a cheap suit to the NDP. I could give a rat's ass about your worthless agreement with your partners - the other socialist. You sold out, without consultation I might add, to the very group you are screwing, every Landlord in the Yukon. Oh and on another note, you have on numerous occasions since taking office loudly proclaimed that this junta agreement is for the benefit of "all" Yukoner's. Frankly you people make sick to my stomach. Our new sign at the border crossing should say "closed to businesses" and signed by both the Premiers !

Up 17 Down 3

Keep Calm on May 17, 2021 at 12:41 pm

"This means that the rent index applies only to the tenancy and not the unit."

So if you need to raise rent, give 2 full months notice (no cause required in Yukon) and start a new tenancy. Presumably even with the same tenant if you want. This is nowhere near the big deal perceived. Keep calm and carry on.

Up 30 Down 10

KC on May 17, 2021 at 11:25 am

Captain Obvious - While I agree that a minority government means that parties have to compromise there is irony in the fact that the party with only 28% of the vote gets the rent caps it campaigned on.

Up 6 Down 9

Al on May 16, 2021 at 12:07 pm

Well here it is - right off of the Government website:

"How we're helping residents access affordable housing
As part of our work to ensure affordable housing in the territory, Yukon will now index, or tie, residential rent increases to inflation. This is a regulatory change that takes effect May 15, 2021.

This change is part of our broader approach to achieving stable affordable housing in Yukon. Our approach also includes many other initiatives, such as building new lots and providing subsidies to renters.

The change is a policy initiative under the Confidence and Supply Agreement, which is in place until January 31, 2023. It is an interim measure that will provide immediate support to renters during this challenging time.

Over the next 2 years, we will continue to work with both landlords and tenants to evaluate this initiative and look at further options to ensure that our solutions to the issue of affordable rent are fair to all Yukoners.

Rent index overview

As of May 15, 2021, Yukon will index, or tie, residential rent increases to inflation.
This initiative is a regulatory change under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. By law, both residential landlords and tenants must comply with this new requirement.

We anticipate this change will be in place until January 2023, or when the Confidence and Supply Agreement ends.
This effectively means that there will be 2 calculations of the rent index: 1 on May 15, 2021, and the 2nd on May 15, 2022.
How we calculate the rent index

We’re using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate the annual rent index. The Yukon Bureau of Statistics calculates the CPI every year.

In 2020, the CPI was 1 per cent. This means that for May 15, 2021, through May 14, 2022, landlords in Yukon must not increase their residential rents by more than 1 per cent.

After the Yukon Bureau of Statistics publishes the CPI each year, we’ll review the rent index to see if we need to adjust it.
The yearly rent index term

The term of the rent index is May 15 of 1 year to May 14 of the following year. This means a landlord may not increase rent to more than the CPI during this period.

For example, the CPI in 2020 was 1 per cent, so that means between May 15, 2021, and May 14, 2022, a landlord may not impose a rent increase of more than 1 per cent.

The rent index and housing agencies
If a housing agency ties a rent increase to the income of a tenant or their family, the rent index does not apply. Housing agencies under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act include Yukon Housing, Grey Mountain and Kwanlin Dün First Nation.

Read the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and regulations.
Common questions

How does this change affect a notice of rent increase that was given before May 15, 2021?
If a landlord has given notice of a rent increase that takes effect on or after May 15, 2021 and that increase is more than the rent index, the notice is still valid but the rent increase must comply with the rent index.

For example, a landlord served their tenant with a notice to increase rent on February 28, 2021. The increase is 10 per cent and starts June 1, 2021.The notice would still be valid, but the rent increase could only be 1 per cent.

2nd notice required
If a landlord gave notice of a rent increase that starts after May 15, 2021, the landlord must serve their tenant with a 2nd notice that states the rent was calculated in accordance with the rent cap. However, if the landlord fails to serve a 2nd notice, it doesn’t undermine or delay the rent increase as long as it complies with the rent index.

Can a landlord increase the rent on a unit by more than the annual CPI under any circumstances?
A landlord may increase rent on a unit by more than the CPI after a tenancy ends. This is because under the new regulation, the rent index is a standard term in the tenancy agreement. This means that the rent index applies only to the tenancy and not the unit.

In March 2021, a landlord sent their tenant a notice to increase the tenant’s rent on their tenancy’s anniversary date. Can they raise it again by 1 per cent on May 15?
No. Only 1 rent increase is allowed within a 12-month period.
On May 13, a mobile park owner sent a mobile home owner a notice of increase to the pad rental of $100 per month.

The home owner had previously renewed just 2 months ago. Can they do that?
If the landlord has already increased the rent, they cannot do it again. Only 1 increase per 12-month period is permitted on the anniversary of the lease.

Does the rent index apply if there is no written tenancy agreement?
Even if there is no lease or written agreement, the rent index still applies;.

Do landlords and tenants need a written tenancy agreement?
All residential tenancies must have a written tenancy agreement. This is part of the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.

What if there is no formal residential tenancy agreement between a tenant and a landlord?
The tenant and landlord should write a formal residential tenancy agreement. It protects both of them. Each of them must have a copy of the agreement within 21 days of signing.

Which types of properties does the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (RLTA) apply to?
The RLTA applies to all residential properties such as:

mobile homes;
mobile home sites;
properties owned by housing agencies; and
hotel, motel or tourist accommodation longer than a 6-month’s duration.

Housing agencies with tenancies tied to income are excluded from the rent index.
The Act does not apply where a tenant shares bathroom or kitchen facilities with the accommodation’s owner.

Does the rent index apply to all rentals?
Yes. The rent index applies to all tenancies covered under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.

Does the rent index apply if the rental is for a room in house with shared bathroom and kitchen?
No. The Residential Landlord and Tenant Act does not apply to tenants who share bathroom or kitchen facilities with the accommodation’s owner.

Does the rent index apply to short-term rentals?
No. The rent index does not apply to vacation and travel rentals such as hotel stays and Airbnb accommodation that last 6 months or less.

Will you consider further changes to better support landlords?
During the next 20 months, we’ll work with all stakeholders to look at options and evaluate how best to proceed."

Up 22 Down 55

CaptainObvious on May 16, 2021 at 10:30 am

Currie's Clickers don't want you to understand that working together means compromise. Yukoners did not vote for any one Party platform, they voted for compromise, hence rent controls. The YP thinks compromise is poaching. SAD!

Up 15 Down 5

Groucho d'North on May 16, 2021 at 9:58 am

The problem with principles is they apply the same way to all issues all the time.
“Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well I have others.” Groucho Marx

Up 25 Down 11

Oya on May 16, 2021 at 9:53 am

@ Wilf - The Commissioner signed an Order in Council on May 14th implementing a new regulation allowing for the rent increase control effective May 15th. That is how fast government can work when they WANT to (or need to in response to selling out their Liberal platform to the NDP... all in the name of power).
I'm pretty sure if the politicians don't know how to legally do things themselves, they have many, many, many legal, parliamentary and other advisors to help them.

Up 43 Down 17

Rob on May 16, 2021 at 8:55 am

@captain obviously Moystyn, instead of taking a delusional view of reality maybe the “currie clickers” you refer to are actual true indication of the sentiments out there. Regardless of how you spin it YP got more votes than any other party.

Up 23 Down 11

Wilf Carter on May 16, 2021 at 7:46 am

There is no rent cap plan in Yukon?? Plan requires an outline of how it's going to be implemented but where is it? This rental plan as NDP and liberals call it is a fools gold plan that is not real in the terms of helping people in Whitehorse. Serviced land first then a building program but liberals and NDP don't understand or refuse to deal with the truth as it is.

Up 39 Down 15

Mad Trapper of Riverdale on May 15, 2021 at 11:04 pm

What Premier White and left leaning socialists always get wrong is ignoring human motivations.
Decisions are based on incentives.

This bait and switch policy, which 72% of Yukoners voted against and is being undemocratically forced upon us, provides many disincentives for landlords to provide rental housing, so they will stop, which will create a larger rental shortage. Its very simple cause and effect and has been proven many times.

If there was a proper consultation process, this would have come up.
But Sandy is acting on his own incentive...cling to power long enough so his MLA buddies qualify for their pensions.

Up 39 Down 23

iBrian on May 15, 2021 at 4:16 pm

@ CaptainObvious
Your out to lunch. Shame on us? For what, working hard for our money and making our money work for us and have a Red Communist Liberal/NDP tell me what I can do with my income property!
I pay 42% tax on my income. I already give more then my fair share.

Up 32 Down 22

Seriously on May 15, 2021 at 2:59 pm

@captain obvious. Quite the appropriate name for sure! I for one applaud, as you call them, Curries’ Clickers for questioning and not rolling over and playing dead or believing everything the lieberal/NDP government are doing or saying unlike those who JUMP when the lieberals/NDP say jump and you say how high! So, SHAME ON YOU!!!

Up 51 Down 20

Machiavelli and Sun Tzu joined the Liberal Party on May 15, 2021 at 10:52 am

Give it up everyday, average, normal-citizens seeking stability and sanity... There is no future for you here!

You will own nothing and you will be happy... Or, you can leave! There is no future for you here other than to be a pawn in the Yukonomy under Liberal stewardship... But what is the takeaway? Everything you’ve got says Silver... We will takeaway everything you got... Money, sense of purpose, and even your psychological and physical freedoms... Everything!

Up 64 Down 18

John on May 15, 2021 at 1:57 am

Its amazing that the liberals who just a few months ago spoke against rent caps now push this forward. It's obvious the coalition dates which coincides with the liberal MLA’s eligible for pension dates, supersedes the parties values or any effort to support Yukoners. Haha poor liberal voters got burned. Dirty politics.

Up 56 Down 15

CJ2 on May 14, 2021 at 11:42 pm

Why should Currie Dixon get off the subject after one or two Question Periods in an 11 day sitting (or whatever it is)? He's the opposition. I mean, he is the opposition. What a state of affairs.

Maybe it's been so long since media heard a contrary view, they think it's aberrant. The reporter on the CBC was fawning over the "spirit of collaboration" between the Liberals and NDP. It's hilarious that media complacency was something Richard Mostyn was never guilty of when he was an editor.

It's even more hilarious that he would have offered cogent criticism of this proposal when he was editor, and he's barely hiding his contempt of it now. He might be the only person in the Legislature who can articulate the problems with it. And yet here we are.

II think there's a number of landlords in the Yukon who are the "mom and pop" type (as Mostyn referred to in the interview) who did what they were urged to do and opened up rental opportunities. Just as they discover all the costs they were unaware of when they set the rent, or maybe are faced with some major repairs (maybe a flooding basement!) they will be hobbled with this. It's not that they might not be able to manage...it's that they will ask the fatal questions "Why bother?", and "What's next?" Because, contrary to the myth of the greedy landlord raking it in, it's not money for nothing.

A hastily prepared policy in a town that doesn't have much of a professional landlord sector, and a rental cap in a seller's market that is applied retroactively. What could possibly go wrong?

Up 57 Down 12

Terrible policy on May 14, 2021 at 11:03 pm

Terrible policy and who in their right mind thinks inflation is 1%?! In the USA the CPI is over 4% because of all the money printing. News flash, Canada has spent the most money out of the G20... so our inflation will likely be higher in Canada because our politicians are buying votes.
Our condo board just agreed in December to increase fees by 3% per year... what do you have to say about that you bunch of idiots.

Up 35 Down 69

CaptainObvious on May 14, 2021 at 8:05 pm

Currie's Clickers are out in full force on this story. At the time of this writing, several stories have click numbers at about 30 to 1. Explain that given the recent election results and you'll find these numbers are drastically skewed in favour of the YP. Paid clickers. Your tax dollars spent to mislead you. Currie's Clickers, SHAME ON YOU!

Up 55 Down 23

Mad Trapper of Riverdale on May 14, 2021 at 7:34 pm

Dick Mostyn sure is arrogant for a guy who squeaked in by only 22 votes while getting demoted.

Despite both the Liberals and Yukon Party running against a rent cap, and 72% of Yukoner's not voting for the NDP, we are getting a rushed rent forced on us with no consultation process or dialogue just so Sandy can desperatey cling to power.

This is a purely autocratic politcal decison with a complete disregard for the will of the people.
Hope Sandy enjoys his last term. He is done. Being a sell out is a bad long term strategy. I've never seen people so angry about a Yukon government and so riled up.

Up 30 Down 21

Wilf Carter on May 14, 2021 at 7:19 pm

Minister talking out of both sides of the mouth, liberal on one and NDP on the other.
You can't put in place a rent cap without it going through the house in regulation format.
Without approved regulations there is no rent cap.
Talk to governance lawyers and they need to show liberals and NDP that they just can't say a rent cap is in place because it is not illegal until it has gone through and vetted by all parties.
MR M just does not know what he is doing and can't handle any minister position of any types.
Liberals' and NDP do not understand parliamentary process on how to govern the Yukon public affairs.
You get what you vote for!!!! and a messy guided government making one mistake after another.

Up 28 Down 11

Atom on May 14, 2021 at 7:12 pm

It's like winding up a toy. Politics drags out the exaggerated. The media is just having a field day and have just under 5 more years to bask in this wonderful politics. What a show.
Folks I've seen this one before, the sky does not fall! Spoiler alert!

Up 23 Down 16

Talking points people!!, stick to the talking points on May 14, 2021 at 6:04 pm

From the administration of health, to the economic trajectory of the Yukon, to land management. This government is a set of talking points. The fed is directing them and foreign influences are directing them. Sad.

Up 42 Down 17

Pokemeinthearm on May 14, 2021 at 5:27 pm

Groucho is 100% spot on. No matter how much this is an NDP flavoured move, it's being implemented under the Liberal brand. When will cabinet and caucus (I guess all caucus members are Ministers or the Speaker this go around) realize that no matter how much they try and point the finger at Kate White, it is they themselves who have agreed to her demands in order to save their pensions.

So whatever the Libs do while the CASA is in effect, they have to own. And they have to execute it all perfectly, which they are clearly not doing in this instance. If they don't get everything right while playing in the sandbox with the NDP, they're literally handing the next election to the Yukon Party.

Mostyn was horrendous on the CBC re: rent caps on Thursday morning.

Up 18 Down 14

bonanzajoe on May 14, 2021 at 5:23 pm

Al, I total agree with you on your comment to Patti Eyrie.

Up 83 Down 16

Groucho d'North on May 14, 2021 at 4:39 pm

You'd think a former editor of a territorial newspaper would have a better grasp of what makes effective communications and reaching the people throughout the Yukon.
Hey Dick, I didn't listen to the radio for your answers either. Did you advertise that this would be the opportunity to be informed about your and I say YOUR rent cap plan regardless of the deal you made with the NDP?
Have you noticed the more these guys get flustered, the more arrogant they become?

Up 80 Down 29

Patti what????? on May 14, 2021 at 4:35 pm

Patti Eyre...do you not think the release of those text messages to the media by the Premier was an attempt at the same? To divert the attention of Yukoners from the frivolous attempts at ramming some ill-conceived policy through the door with the NDP? Yes, those guys should not have participated in the chat. It was not a smart move, and I think they feel pretty dumb about it.

But this is actual work that the YP is doing now. They are working on behalf of the people who have and will continue to be evicted. They are trying to make the government think twice about this stupid move. They are actually working. Democratically. I think you should think twice about your comments as much as Stacey and Wade should have thought about theirs. This is about a government forcing legislation that will hurt Yukoners, not help them.

Up 79 Down 12

Worried Tenant on May 14, 2021 at 4:24 pm

Before the election Mr.Mostyn spoke against the rent cap and has now quickly changed his tune. As someone who rents in his riding and am already worried about our landlord selling in the near future, I now wonder if he’s more concerned about his party keeping power and what the NDP wants than his constituents.

Up 74 Down 31

Seriously on May 14, 2021 at 4:20 pm

@patti eyre- give it a rest already!! Obviously you are a die hard Lieberal. Good for you. I for one want someone who has the guts enough to question the lieberal/NDP government on their tactics and NOT answering with ‘if you had listened to the radio’. Excuse me but isn’t the legislature sitting? I do believe that the official opposition should question and question again the lieberals/NDP and not roll over and just believe everything being said and done.

Up 75 Down 29

Mary on May 14, 2021 at 4:13 pm

My Mostyn you are going to look like Pinocchio. The Liberals never reached out to the YP - that is a blatant, unequivocal lie! Shame on you for false statements in the Legislature!! But coming from you that is just par for the course.

By the way policy announcement should be addressed in the Legislature, not CBC. So your snide comment to the Official Leader of the Opposition berating him for not listening to your interview was not just condescending but frankly the type of sarcasm that normally is emitted from your lips.

This is why you were demoted - no class ...

Up 76 Down 34

Al on May 14, 2021 at 4:04 pm

@ Patti
Give it up Patti. It is a tad nauseous you shovelling socialism in a constant stream. Reminds me of the Exorcist of vile being spewed. If anyone is brain washed you only need to look in the mirror.

Up 41 Down 116

Patti Eyre on May 14, 2021 at 3:39 pm

Well good job on Dixon from moving the ball away from those lewd text messages from his old boys club members Hassard and Istchenko, which is basically the whole point here, talk to a few realtors who have a vast inventory of units they rent and make a big stink, jump up and down, maybe wave your hands. Still, it is rather sad to see Dixon so manipulated like this. I will pray he sees some light!

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.