Calgary rally calls for rent control across Alberta as prices continue to rise

A group representing renters’ rights called for rental rates to be capped during a rally in Calgary on Saturday.

The ACORN Tenant Union organized the rally outside of the Boardwalk head office in southwest Calgary to advocate for rent control across the province.

ACORN Canada is a national independent organization of low and moderate-income people with more than 140,000 members in more than 20 neighbourhood chapters across nine cities.

Read more: Renter households in Calgary growing faster than home ownership rates: census

“What tenants are going through is unacceptable for the province of Alberta. The lack of protections for tenants is forcing more people than ever before to struggle to keep a roof over their heads,” said central Calgary ACORN member Fable Dowling in a news release Saturday.

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“We are your neighbours, friends and family members. We are new families, single parents, students, and seniors.

“The province of Alberta must protect us by enacting rent control now.”

According to the October report from Rentals.ca, the average rent for all property types across Canada in September 2022 was $2,043 per month. That represents an annual increase of 15.4 per cent.

“The average rent is up 4.3 per cent monthly and 21.9 per cent from the recent market low of $1,676 per month in April 2021,” the report stated.

“The average rent is now about $100 more than the pre-pandemic peak level from the fall of 2019.”

The report also shows that Calgary has recorded some of the steepest increases in the country and is the only Albertan city within the top 30 most expensive places to rent in Canada.

Read more: Calgary renters say bidding wars and ‘gouging’ are leading to desperate measures

According to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, the province is working to address rent price concerns in Alberta.

“We are dedicated to addressing concerns facing Albertans, and our government is continuing its efforts to maintain an affordable province for Albertans,” said press secretary Callum Reid.

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“There are protections currently in place for renters, including how often a landlord can increase rental costs, limiting them to once per year.”

Reid added the Rent Supplement Program was updated last year to introduce the Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit to Alberta’s seven major centres.

“This program has recently added more than 80 communities across Alberta three months ago. This provides rental assistance to those in low-income households while maintaining long-term support for those most in need,” said Reid.

During the rally, ACORN Tenant Union was asking for several things, including a rent cap and a rental registry. The registry would track all rental units in the province in order to provide more data on where and how rent is rising to unaffordable levels. The data from that registry would also be used to create affordable policies and regulations in the future.

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