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.
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.
Are a rental unit’s utilities indexed to inflation?
If a tenancy agreement excludes utilities from the rent, the utilities are not indexed to inflation. In this case, a landlord can raise the tenant’s cost for utilities by more than inflation.
If a tenancy agreement includes utilities as part of the rent, the total amount is indexed to inflation. In this case, a landlord cannot raise the tenant’s cost for utilities by more than inflation.
Can a landlord raise rent between tenancies?
New agreements between same landlord and same tenant
If a tenancy ends and the same landlord and same tenant begin a new tenancy in the same or similar rental unit, the landlord may not increase rent above the rent index. This is true even if the landlord and tenant sign a new tenancy agreement.
New agreements between same landlord and new tenant
If a tenancy ends and a landlord begins a new tenancy with a new tenant in the same or similar rental unit, the landlord and the new tenant may agree to a new rent rate. The change in rent could be below, at, or above Yukon’s annual rent index. However, once the tenancy begins, the tenancy is subject to 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.
What should a tenant do if a landlord increases the rent by more than the rental index?
Under the new regulation, a landlord cannot increase a tenant’s rent for the duration of the tenancy by more than the rental index. This is true even when a periodic or fixed-term tenancy ends and the same landlord and same tenant agree to enter into a new agreement.
The Residential Tenancies Office encourages parties to try to resolve their difference informally. If they are not able to, they may file an application for dispute resolution.
Deadlines to apply for dispute resolution
If a tenant wants to apply for dispute resolution, there are some important deadlines.
- If a tenant wishes to dispute a notice to increase rent, they must do so within 1 year after the tenancy ends.
- If a tenant wishes to argue that the landlord has contravened the rent index by allowing a tenancy to end and then re-renting to the tenant the same or similar rental unit, the tenant must apply for dispute resolution within 10 days of the start of the new tenancy agreement.
- If a tenant wishes to dispute a notice to end tenancy without cause, they must do so within 10 days of receiving the notice.
- If a tenant wishes to dispute a notice to end tenancy with cause, they must do so within 5 days of receiving the notice.
Please contact the RTO for more information or clarification on these deadlines.
We're currently waiving fees for dispute resolution while our physical office is closed.
Potential remedies through dispute resolution
If a residential tenancies officer finds that a landlord has not complied with the rent index, they may order compensation or another remedy that is fair and appropriate to the facts.
If the residential tenancies officer finds that the landlord served a notice to end tenancy in retaliation for the tenant making a complaint or attempting to enforce their rights, the officer may refuse to grant an order of possession. This means that the landlord will not be able to remove the tenant from the rental 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?
During the next 20 months, we’ll work with all stakeholders to look at options and evaluate how best to proceed.
If you have more questions about the residential rent index, contact us.
Residential Tenancies Office
Phone: 867-667-5944, toll free in Yukon 1-800-661-0408, extension 5944.