Increase in rent, decrease in availability: the state of housing in Sackville and NB

Sackville is one of many places in New Brunswick facing rental price increases for housing, both with apartments and houses.

Many students have found out that their landlord is upping the prices of their rentals, even if the property value does not change. One anonymous Mt. A student said that their rent was increasing by $30 a month, so now the individual and their roommate are each “paying 515 [dollars] a month instead of 500” in a two-bedroom apartment near campus.

The individual described their experience with one of the larger rental owners in the Sackville area, and how the precarity of student housing forced the two roommates to resign their lease in early October or lose the apartment. They claim that they were not aware of the apartment’s rent increase until they were signing the lease.

“[They] told us we needed to resign [our lease] or they’d give away our apartment,” the student explained, “then when we went to sign [they] said ‘oh yeah, the rent increased by the way.’ So we had to resign or be homeless.”

Rent increases are not the only housing-related issue students have faced over the last few years in Sackville; zoning infractions in a rental building left fifteen students unhoused in Sackville in January of this year, and a shortage of accessible buildings close to campus have caused precarious situations for some students.

Housing crises are not exclusive to the Sackville area either—all of New Brunswick has been faced with a serious rent surge that affects students and non-students alike. CBC reported this summer that the rent surge in May 2021 was the “province’s highest recorded in 43 years.” This rent surge brought up the total inflation up to 4.3 percent, higher than any other province in the country.

Rent increases can be due to a variety of reasons, such as property upgrades or to match inflation, but New Brunswick has also seen an increased demand for housing during the pandemic that has raised housing costs. Low case numbers and a declining population make New Brunswick a safe and comparatively inexpensive alternative to living in more populated provinces in the country.

According to the New Brunswick Real Estate Association, the value of all home sales in October 2021 increased by 30.7% from one year prior, and also broke the province’s total home sales value for October at $293.6 million.

The MASU has compiled a student housing handbook to address the variety of housing situations students have been faced with over the years. It outlines tenant’s and landlord’s rights, how and where to find information about student housing, and tips on how to have a successful off-campus experience. The handbook is available on the MASU website at masu.ca and any additional questions can be emailed to masuexternal@mta.ca.

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