Residents of the Glenmore Gardens apartment complex at 90 SW Avenue in Calgary are facing significant rent increases when their leases are renewed.
“That’s exactly what it felt like,” Sherry Champagne said, snapping her fingers for emphasis.
“I just signed a (new) lease and was told the price would go up by $600.”
For Champagne, who lives with her daughter and two grandchildren in one of the townhouses in the complex, that’s a little more than a 30 percent increase in rent, an amount she can’t afford.
“It means my daughter, two grandchildren and I will move out and live with my father,” Champagne said.
Rent increases are applied at the time of lease renewal, so they do not affect all residents at the same time.
Jessica Saunders is a single mother who is currently out of work and receiving WCB benefits.
She recently noticed that her rent has increased.
“Thankfully, as long as I stick to a budget, I can afford it. But I have two small children and I’m a single mom, so it’s definitely going to be tough,” she said.
Glenmore Gardens resident Lucia Oliveira is organizing residents to oppose the increase and find solutions for those who may be evicted.
“We hope for a quick resolution because many people are running out of time,” Oliveira said.
“They need to make a decision now in the middle of winter. They need to make a decision and find another place to go.”
Avenue Living took over the building in December.
“We manage rent increases through the Avenue Living Market Index, which measures how Avenue Living renewals compare to market rents,” company spokeswoman Tammy Cho said in a statement. “This index aims to smooth out rent increases relative to market rent movements.” To CTV.
“Currently, average rents at Glenmore Gardens are 30 per cent below market value. Given the pace of market price growth, our renewal rates continue to be below market price.”
Cho also said the company plans to spend $4 million on repairs and upgrades to the complex.
The increase has renewed calls for a cap on rent control in Alberta.
NDP MLA for the region, Nagwan Al-Gunaid, says the rent cap will allow many renters, especially seniors, to continue living in their homes.
“We need temporary measures to mitigate the uncontrollable increase. Just a quick cap,” Al-Ghunaid said.
“Our[current government’s]policies have resulted in Alberta having the fastest rising rents in Canada.”
Jason Nixon, Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services, said there would never be a rent cap under UCP oversight.
“100 percent, this government will never do rent control because it will destroy the economy and make more people homeless. Instead, we will focus on building more housing,” President Nixon said.
“In December 2023, this state will see a 65% increase in housing starts, the highest number of apartments ever built, and anything related to rent control will come to a halt.”
According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, rents for purpose-built rental properties in Calgary increased by 14.3 per cent in 2023 compared to 2022.
This is the highest increase of any city in Canada and the highest increase recorded in the city since 2007.